If you are caring for someone with a physical disability, it can be both physically and emotionally demanding for both parties. Whether it is a lifelong physical disability, a progressive condition such as MS or Parkinson’s or a sudden change such as the result of a stroke or accident.
It is important to be sensitive to each other’s feelings and have an understanding of when help is needed and where independence should be encouraged and maintained. Here are our top five tips on providing physical disability care.
It is important to create an emergency care plan, where all of the information about the person you care for is stored in one place and can be picked up by someone else should they need to take over from your caring responsibilities in an emergency, or you need to talk to a health professional.
The emergency care plan should include a brief summary of the individual’s diagnosis and their understanding of it. If they have the capacity to make decisions, they should be part of the care planning process and communicate their ceiling of care.
The care plan should also include a list of all regular medications and when they need to be taken and the correct dosages. It should also include any medications that are taken as needed and where to locate rescue medication in the home.
The emergency care plan should be clearly marked and easy to find, so that a carer or medical professional can easily access it.
When providing physical disability care, it is important to learn how to lift and move someone safely for both your health and that of the person you are caring for. You may need to assist them in getting in or out of bed, sitting up, bathing, showering, using the toilet, sitting in a chair, getting them up from the floor after a fall or getting in and out of a vehicle.
Back injuries are a common occurrence for carers and can limit your movement and ability to care for someone as well as causing injury to the person you are caring for.
There is training available to learn the correct techniques for lifting and moving someone and it is recommended to take this training if you will need to regularly help someone move. Many councils run free training on safe moving & handling and can provide a needs assessment to potentially adapt the home to make movement easier.
In our effort to care for someone we love, we can forget to communicate. It is so important to communicate effectively with the person you care for. If physical disability care is something you are both getting used to, understand what help is required and what can still be done independently. Offer assistance and wait until the offer is accepted. Communicate about what you are doing; whether that’s helping to move them, wash them or administer their medication.
Caring for someone is hugely demanding, especially as an unpaid carer, therefore it is important to take time for yourself to do things you enjoy independently. This is important for the relationship between you and the one you care for.
You can organise respite physical disability care from a care provider such as Live In Solutions who can provide respite care for a few hours or a few weeks, so you can take the time to see a friend, go to work or go on holiday.
After a break, you are in a much better headspace to provide care, so it’s important to schedule in respite for your own mental well-being.
It is helpful to have people you can talk to who understand the demands you may face as a carer. There are many carer support groups and many meetings, activity days and events for you to meet other carers and find out about the support you are entitled to.
If you can’t make it to a group or event, many hold virtual events, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic which you can join via your phone, tablet or laptop. There are also many helplines both nationally and locally based for you to access.
If you would like to enquire about our respite care, please do not hesitate to get in contact. We can provide live-in care on a daily, weekly or monthly basis based around your needs. All of our carers are fully trained and qualified to provide the very best care and we guarantee a seamless transition.
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