There is quite a significant difference in the work of a regular caregiver and one that caters to people with physical or mental disabilities.
For the latter, the amount of effort multiplies manifold, making the task more challenging than ever.
Caregivers looking after disabled people are usually well-trained in their specific area.
So if they have to look after a patient with physical disabilities, they will need to be knowledgeable about diseases that have made the disability happen. And if they need to look after people with mental challenges, they will need to be trained in handling patients on a psychological level.
Many patients with mental disabilities can handle a lot of their daily tasks themselves. However, they may need a little bit of coaxing and encouragement from their caregivers.
Caregivers need to be compassionate and patient so that they can understand their wards’ problems properly and support them.
Knowledge and appreciation of physical therapy are important if you want to work as a caregiver for the physically disabled.
Depending on the facility that you will be hired by, you may be asked to go through formal training or be trained by the facility.
In either case, you will be performing some or all of the duties listed below:
• Meet patients’ doctor and family members to determine the extent of physical or mental disability.
• Create plans to fulfill patients’ physical and emotional demands and ensure their comfort on a constant level.
• Engage patients in conversation to understand their physical and mental challenges.
• Provide physical assistance such as help with washing, bathing, toileting, and grooming.
• Plan and prepare nutritious meals according to each patient’s health plan.
• Assist in partaking meals and ensure that medication is administered in a time-efficient manner.
• Provide emotional support, by counseling patients and encouraging them to be positive.
• Handle grocery shopping and bill paying activities and ensure that family members are made aware of all transactions.
• Assist with household work by handling housekeeping work such as dusting, cooking, and laundry.
• Observe patients constantly and ensure that any changes in physical or emotional health are communicated to the family or doctor.
• Escort or assist patients to doctors’ appointments and recreational activities and encourage them to participate.
• Handle emergency situations with tact by ensuring that First Aid and CPR procedures are handled appropriately.
• Assist with therapeutic procedures such as massages and physical therapy.
• Ascertain that patients’ surroundings are kept sanitized, clean and comfortable at all times.
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