Running Head: Care of a Caregiver:
Caregivers Also Require Care
26 November 2010
GENERAL PURPOSE: To persuade all people that care givers also require to be accorded care even though they accord care to care recipients.
Care of a Caregiver
Providing care as a caregiver is not an easy task as it might be deemed by the society. The society in most cases takes caregivers for granted, owing to the fact that they choose to provide unpaid care to the mentally ill, physically disabled, those impaired by old age or sickness as well as the mentally handicapped. Although emotional and financial setbacks are linked to care giving, caregivers do not let them dissuade them from their calling. In the assumption of their roles and responsibilities, the caregivers are at a high risk of physical and emotional health deficiencies, social isolation, emotional and financial burden as well as the caregiver burden (Cocco, 2010, p. 66). When the caregiver burden is not appropriately addressed on time, it is converted into caregiver burnout and occupational stress, which increases chances of neglect and abuse on the part of the caregivers. For this reason, the cause and warning signs for burnout and stress should be identified so that the appropriate reduction methods are taken up to reduce the consequences of burnout and caregivers.
Causes and Warning Signs for Stress and Exhaustion
Owing to the heavy responsibilities allied to caring for loved ones with major health complications, the caregivers suffer from social isolation, financial and emotional burden as well as negative mental and physical consequences. These consequences culminate to the emotional, physical, social, mental and financial stressors associated with taking care of a family member on a long term basis. The stressors cause caregiver stress or caregiver burden. Role captivity, which encompasses the trapping of the care givers in their family members illness as well as role strain that encompasses secondary stressors can escalate the care givers stress to the high levels that can be identified as caregiver burnout. Consequently, the delayed access to formal services until the time the patient is terminally ill can accelerate the care giver stress levels.
The severity of the condition for which care is given and the care recipient’s level of personality, emotional and mental changes can cause the escalating care giver stress levels. If the family member possesses dementia and other behavioral problems, the care givers burden is increased surmountably. When the caregiver needs are not met efficiently and effectively, the care giver burden gives way to caregiver burnout. One of the major warning signs of burnout comes in the form of mood changes culminating from highly stressful working conditions. Fear, loneliness, isolation, decreased appetite, irritability, insomnia as well as fatigue are the key indicators of the mood changes (Kumar, et al, 2005, p. 406).
Owing to the fact that nurses work closely with the informal caregivers, they might be in the best position to identify the warning signs, which should be followed by the application of reduction methods. These warning signs are most evident during the days in which the caregivers have so many responsibilities to take off at the same time. In some cases, a caregiver might experience decreased physical activity such that he or she cannot be able to accomplish all the tasks that he or she was accomplishing before the burnout. This clearly indicates that their physical and emotional health has been interfered with and unless this is tended to immediately and appropriately, they cannot be identified as good candidates to provide care to the care recipients.
Ways of Preventing Exhaustion in Care Givers
Burnout is a condition that can have adverse consequences. Inherently, there is a need for the formulations of ways that can be employed in preventing burnout from attacking the caregivers owing to their sensitive and productive contribution to societal growth and productivity. Burnout culminates into the long-terms consequences of care provision problems, job dissatisfaction, provision of low quality care, neglect, care recipient abuse, greater care giving dissatisfaction as well as giving up on the urge to provide any type of care even though the care giver knows its importance. Although burnout is looked at a disadvantage, it might translate into an advantage as it is utilized to protect human psyche especially in instances in which the levels of psyche have gone down due to stressful working conditions (Tamayo, Broxton, Munsel & Cohen, 2010, p. E55). For this reason there is need for methods that will enhance the prevention of burnout.
In the caregiver profession, the caregivers work closely with the nurses and the nurses can consecutively aid in formulating the ways to prevent burnout in the care givers. In many instances, the care givers cannot be able to identify the warning signs of burnout on their own providing the need for exploring them with the nurses. Once the warning signs are explored, the best methods for curbing them can be implemented. The Montgomery Borgatta Caregiver Burden Scale is utilized to asses the caregiver burden. The acquisition of responses in terms of subjective stress burden, objective burden as well as subjective demand burden can provide scores, which will lead to a recommendation for counseling, obtaining information as well as the services required to provide help to the caregiver.
Even though this caregiver assessment does not assess burnout, it provides the caregivers with the required information for identifying the warning signs so that they can be able to curb burnout before it takes place. The nurses can assist that care giver to meet the challenges of providing care to the care recipients through introducing the support groups that will provide the physical, mental and social support needed by the caregiver to meet the needs of the family member in need of the care. In this way, the caregiver burden will be reduced and chances of cite culminating into burnout will be reduced. The combination of the formal and informal care provided by both the nurses and the caregiver’s aids in alleviating the escalation of the patient’s illness hence reducing chances of caregiver burden. When the level of caregiver burden is very low, the caregiver can be able to maintain a good working condition that will enable them to prevent the occurrence of burnout.
Stress Reducing Methods
The best stress reduction method that can be applied in the case of the caregivers is in form of the psycho-social intervention training. This method is an umbrella of different principles, which are inclusive of the cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), relapse prevention, case management through the incorporation of PSI principles and family interventions. Studies assert that standard care alone is not efficient for care giving but the incorporation of CBT to improve the mental state of the care recipient to ensure that the work load for the caregiver does not increase. Family intervention is very fundamental for the caregiver because it accords her or him with the social support needed for the reduction of loneliness and problematic expression of emotions. Family intervention also works towards the prevention of relapses in cases of caregiver burden.
Training the caregivers on the PSI principles provides more information on the effects of caregiver burden and burnout and how the PSI principles can be used to reduce their work load while at the same time understanding their role and when to source for the formal services (Nguyen, 2009, p. 150). In this case the escalation of the secondary and primary stressors that cause caregiver burden and burnout are eliminated and prevented from reoccurring. At the beginning, the caregivers might not record an improvement on their attitude towards care giving but as the training proceeds, substantial hidden benefits will be recognized through the change of attitude both towards their work and the people they provide the care to. The PSI principles do not only encourage the caregiver but they accord the caregiver with the tools to encouraging the care recipient such that they do not accord the caregiver with a hard time that can culminate into the escalated caregiver burden.
Practicing Relaxing Exercises
In extreme cases, high emotional and physical demands are extracted from the caregivers increasing their chances of acquiring caregiver burden as well as burnout (Doyle, 2007, p. 19). To reduce the occurrence of the burnout, the caregivers should practice different relaxation excesses. The exercises do not only utilize physical activities but they make use of the mental activities hence decreasing worry, reducing tension and improving sleep. Relaxed breathing is a good way of augmenting relaxation. In this case, the caregiver should lie down on their back or sit comfortably in a chair. The caregiver should then breathe in a natural gentle way through the nose at the same time expanding the belly, to fill it with air.
While doing this, the person should keep their shoulders and chest so still while at the same time imagining that they are filling air in a small balloon. After the inhalation, the caregiver should exhale the carbon dioxide out of the body slowly to ensure that the belly relaxes at a slow pace. To augment the relaxation process, one hand should be placed on the breast bone with the other hand placed on the stomach to analyze which hand moves more when breathing. For total relaxation, the hand on the stomach should move more than the hand on the breast bone. Though many people ignore the breathing process, relaxed breathing can augment relaxation at a high perspective. Therefore, the caregivers require some exercises in order to help them relax after a hard days work. The exercises are very important in helping the caregivers relax their muscles so that they may not be filled with stress and tension.
Giving unpaid care to family members in most cases might be gratifying but when instances of caregiver burden and burnout occur, the caregiver is always left with a bad taste in the mouth. This is because care giving robs them of their emotional and financial stability as well as physical and mental health. Caregivers should be accorded with different methods for identifying the warning signs of caregiver burden so that they can prevent. Due to the rapport between nurses and caregivers, the nurses should aid the caregivers in exploring their mood changes to ensure that they are not suffering from the caregivers’ burden as this will certainly affect their performance levels. Caregivers are recommended to undergo the PSI training to ensure that they not only understand their attitudes but they also monitor the attitudes of the care recipients. Caregivers should always engage in relaxation exercises to reduce the tension that can escalate the caregiver’s burden. In conclusion, caregivers should be taken care of by those around them because in most cases they forget to take care of themselves as they provide care to the care recipients.
Cocco, E. (2010). How much is Geriatric Caregivers Burnout Caring-Specific? Questions from a Questionnaire Survey. Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health, 6, 66-71.
Doyle, M. (2007). Burnout: The impact of Psychosocial Interventions training. Mental Health Practice, 10(7), 16-19.
Kumar, S., Hatcher, S., & Huggard, P. (2005). Burnout in Psychiatrists: An Etiological Model. International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, 35(4), 405-416.
Nguyen, M. (2009). Nurse’s assessment of caregiver burden. MedSurg Nursing, 18(3), 147-151.
Tamayo, G. J., Broxton, A., Munsel, M., & Cohen, M. Z. (2010). Caring for the Caregiver. Oncology Nursing Forum, 37(1), E50-E57.