How I Personally Deal with Incidents and AccidentsPopular on CamTrader
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This Caregiver Story is written by Holly Clark who is a career carer and consultant for SureSafe.
One of the worst things that can possibly happen during a work day for a caregiver, is a work-related accident. Whenever an accident happens there are several steps that need to be taken immediately to assist the injured individual. After the basic care for a patient is completed, a thorough assessment should be completed to determine how to prevent such an accident from occurring in the future.
Accidents will always happen, no matter how safe the environment is. Some accidents can be mitigated by basic signage. In other instances, safety training for you as a caregiver can help prevent accidents. Both signage and safety training must stay current and be specific to reflect the individuals being assisted.
This article discusses immediate care for patients who have suffered an accident and also discusses the mental health of a carer in returning to work after an accident or loss.
Care for the individual first.
Your first response in an accident should be to care for the individual immediately. Call 911 right away if you determine the issue to be severe. As you wait for the paramedics to arrive, assess the individual, keep them calm and still and be compassionate and reassuring.
If the accident wasn’t serious enough for 911, do a simple assessment to determine if the patient needs to be taken to a walk-in medical care facility. If the patient had a minor accident that can be treated at home, follow any protocol with washing, bandaging, or otherwise caring for the injuries. If the injury was minor, contacting the primary doctor to get any further advice may be helpful.
It is always important to consider any medications or preexisting conditions that may have contributed to the accident. For instance, multiple medicines can contribute to a fall, and it may be helpful to make an appointment with a doctor to ensure what steps can be taken to prevent unsteadiness on one’s feet.
Secure the Scene of the Accident and Try to Prevent it from Recurring
Once your patient has been appropriately cared for, secure the scene of the accident to prevent further accidents. For instance, in a burn related accident, removing the source of the accident and replacing it with something safer is recommended. In many older houses, heating elements are old and become very hot. If there is signage that the patient may have missed, which inadvertently caused the accident, it is probably necessary to replace the heating element with one that will not easily cause burns. Fortunately, there are many solutions out there that can help prevent accidents from occurring in the future.
Complete any Necessary Paperwork
Accidents should always be carefully notated and recorded for the patient’s records. In these instances, don’t just state the cause of the accident, but also state the plans for a solution to prevent this particular accident from happening again. Additionally, in any accident, contact the next of kin to explain what happened and the plan forward.
Complete any Doctor Advised Steps to Have a Full Recovery
If the accident was a fall, the patient’s doctor may suggest physical therapy to help recover strength and confidence when moving around. No matter the accident, frequent exercise is important for everyone and when done moderately, can give confidence and may prevent further accidents.
Caregiver’s Mentality after Accidents
Going forward after an accident can be difficult. You may have lost confidence in yourself, and your patient has probably also lost confidence in either you, themselves, or both. A loss of confidence is a severe blow, but can be overcome. Don’t overcompensate, but follow a routine and work together to rebuild trust and confidence. Simple confidence boosting activities can help, as can maintaining an open line of communication.
As a caregiver, you’ll probably be even more proactive in preventing accidents, which can lead to feeling overworked and exhausted, simply because you’re doing more work at preventing potential accidents. A 2013 study on the impact that falls had on caregivers recommends to find the cause of the accident and work towards a solution. The article notes that in the case of a fall, the constant vigilance required to prevent a fall can impede daily living.
Maintaining your mental health as a caregiver is not something that is to be taken lightly. Being a caregiver is difficult work, and your physical and mental health can suffer, which can lead to more accidents in the workplace. To prevent this, it is important to take time for yourself, to refocus, meditate, and be refreshed in what you love in order to give your best to your caregiving responsibilities.
Dealing with Grief as a Caregiver
Dealing with grief as a caregiver is difficult, no matter the instance. In this particular line of work, grief comes frequently and it can be difficult to move past it. It is not uncommon to feel guilty, depressed, or lonely. To better understand these feelings, it is important that you have the opportunity to discuss your feelings with a doctor or therapist.
As you work through your grief and begin to rebuild your life after spending so much time pouring your love and energy into another, it is important that you treat yourself well. Love yourself. Take time for yourself and focus on truly feeling your feelings. Impart rituals into your daily life that bring back good memories of your patient. Get outside and away from social media. Focus on the good in the world around you.
In time, as a caregiver, you may feel the pull to return to your calling. It may feel difficult at first to care for another individual, and there will probably be floods of all kinds of emotions. It may be difficult to connect emotionally and you may feel the urge to stay aloof. In these times, it is good to remember the words of C.S. Lewis, “There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.”
As a caregiver, your huge heart is one of your many gifts. While it may be difficult to love and become attached again, it is possible, and it is what makes your role as a caregiver so invaluable.