Friday, August 20, 2010

Caregiver burnout

Kidney disease can be quite taxing for an individual. It is not a short term thing. It is often something you have to live with life-long. Yes, you often have years of peace but it often comes back in some form or another.

This can also take its toll on caregivers, the people around the individual affected by the kidney disease. The serious nature of the disease makes the patient the center of the world around him or her. The entire family's life often revolves around the patient and the disease.

There are surgeries. There are doctor visits. There are hospital stays. There could very well be dialysis which is often a thrice a week thing which takes up half the day. Week after week.

In all this, often the primary caregiver undergoes tremendous stress and frustration. Worse, this is rarely recognized and addressed. The patient occupies centerstage and there is no bandwidth in anybody's mind (including the caregiver's) to recognize that there are problems elsewhere as well.

This is a genuine problem. There are simple solutions however. They may not address the problem entirely. They can help alleviate the problem partially though. And this may be a big relief in itself.

We, the people with kidney disease must realize that our problem affects others too. Most definitely, we are affected the most. No denying that. However, there is a definite effect on our families too. We must be sensitive to this. A simple word of gratitude for them can make them feel much better. Also, we must try to become as independent as possible. Not only will we feel stronger, but this will also reduce the things our families have to do for us.

Primary caregivers must learn to take some time off from the patients and the disease. They must do the things they like to do, away from the patient, without feeling guilty. This will help not only the caregiver but the patient too.

These are little things that make a big difference. Both the patient and the caregiver must appreciate this problem and make a conscious effort to make sure that kidney disease does not take over their lives.

3 comments:

Ammu said...

So very true Kamal... You have put in all those thoughts that are going on in almost all the patients and their dear families mind. Along with the patient the entire family undergoes the stress. But on the contrary I feel that , the caregivers should never make the patient realise that lots of efforts are been put to take care of the patient. He /she should keep the atmosphere as light as possible. This itself shall boost up the morale of the patient. Well , as you rightly mentioned the gratitude from the patient's side will surely add browny points to the quality of service rendered by the caregiver... A very well neatly written blog as always..

Do tc,
Tracy

Sai Manohar said...

a patient knows the magnitude of the problem, but the people around him are very much concerned as what would happen in d future? a small word of assurance to our family/caretakers would be a great help..

Caregiver said...

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