Ten questions to ask

Ten questions to ask before choosing home care over a recovery lodge.

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Do you have the training a health care worker has? Staff at recovery lodges, sub-acute facilities and step down environments have had extensive training. Apart from their qualifications and on-going training they have had years of experience. Although you might have done all your research and have a great understanding of what your loved-one’s needs are, there might be occasions when experience, medical back ground and education is of vital importance.

Do you have the time to intensely care for your loved one? Acts of service is one of the ways we as humans express our love to one another as described in the Book, Five languages of love by Gary Chapman. This in theory sounds wonderful and we all want to care for our most precious people when they are vulnerable, but often one simply does not have the time to do this. Is it not better to spend the time you do have available interacting with the patient rather than doing what carers do?

Do you have the emotional ability to be a carer? There are many case studies showing how relationships change when roles change. From a couple who were once lovers changing to one lover becoming a carer and the other lover a patient. Where a capable mother now has to be cared for by her child. Where a spouse no longer represents a beautiful bride, but a vulnerable patient in the depths of despair. Being a carer and being exposed to the frustration and pain you will see is emotionally gruelling and often we ask, who is caring for the carer when they fall apart.

Do you have the correct environment? This is the most practical of all your concerns. How does you home environment fit in with the new needs of your loved one? Have you got elevators where there used to be stairs? Have you got a way that your loved one can shower now that they might have difficulty getting into the bath? Have you got a way your special person can get help instantly? We must admit, when we imagine our dream house it is not equipped with grab rails and wheelchair friendly showers. This is one of the reasons facilities such as stepdowns exist.

Do you have the luxury of pressing pause on your own life? Many of us would stop life in a heartbeat to assist the most precious person in our universe. But reality reminds us that life continues, children need to be fetched from school, projects need to completed, meetings need to be attended, reports need to be written. It sounds easy, until we have to miss that recital in order to stay home and supervise a bed bath.

Are you able to guard your loved one’s dignity and privacy? Think of yourself, if you were compromised and unable to attend to your most private ablutions, would you rather your husband, who could hardly change your children’s nappies help you? Or would you prefer a carer who does it many times a day, efficiently, quickly and with great care to guard your dignity. In a recent case a husband needed psychological help after the trauma of assisting his wife during her bathroom needs as he could not see her as a sexual being again after that. The damage which was done to their relationship far outweighed the damages the car crash did to her body.

Are you able to assist if urgent medical intervention is needed? Are you able to assist your loved one enough whilst waiting for help to arrive? Are you close enough to a hospital or ER to get help in seconds? Have you done CPR training?

Are you able to deal with the responsibility of administering medication, preventing common problems like bedsores, co-ordinating therapies, and at the same time running a household, shopping, cooking and remain pleasant without your loved one developing feelings of guilt or feeling like they are a burden?

Do you have the know-how of how to plan nutrient dense meals which are tasty and beneficial to your loved ones needs and tastes? Cooking for a patient is very different than cooking for a family member. Facilities like recovery lodges employ trained professionals to make sure patients receive balanced diets beneficial to all their bodily functions.

And now for the question which might be hardest to ask yourself. Are you the right person to do this for your soulmate, parent, lover, spouse, child? Can you admit to yourself that in this instance it will be better to trust someone else to help your person? By allowing your loved one to be cared for in a beautiful environment, by a professional team is not an act of neglect or apathy, but probably a very brave, selfless and calculated decision. Probably a decision for which your loved one will thank you for years to come.

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