Who cares for the carer?
For all the best reasons we want to care when a family member is in need.
My experience tells me that carers do not think about the toll the care regime takes on them. You have to be forced to stop and think, particularly because your relationship with the injured person is going to change. For instance, a wife who becomes a carer after a serious injury, may find the injured person is no longer the person they married. That is a tough message, but it has to be weighed up when looking at a care regime.
Experience tells us that respite for the carer is vital. We must also look long term, particularly if there is a physical element to the care, such as lifting and wheel chair use. You may not be as fit in ten years time. Much as you want to do everything yourself, you must look at the alternatives and do what is right for you, as well as the injured person.
It is sad to say, but I have seen couples separate after a serious injury, particularly where an acquired brain injury has been suffered with changes in behaviour. The spouse or partner fights for the best treatment and compensation, but that fight, together with the stress and strain of full time care, is often too much. I am not surprised relationships break down and have every sympathy for those in this situation, but these facts of life have to be faced.
The best time to look at these issues is when a care regime is being established. It is at this point you need an experienced case manager. They will manage the care regime and make sure all other agencies are playing their part. A case manager can make a real difference as they will bring objectivity to the assessment of needs, including yours as the carer.
For more information see:
- Advice from the Department of Health
Let us know if you come across good sources of information and support.