Friends and family commonly provide support to a loved one during periods of ill health simply as part of their relationship with that person. However some times that role as a ‘carer’ may last for an extended period of time during chronic illness, long-term disability or mental health.
Whilst it is normal to focus on the needs of the person being cared for, it is important to maintain your own health and wellbeing.
Caring for a loved one
While it may seem natural to care for your loved one, it is important to acknowledge that at times you may experience varied emotions associated with stress, anxiety, guilt, changing roles and isolation. While everything may be focused on the person being carer for, be sure to maintain your own health and wellbeing. Remember to attend your GP regularly, seek advice and counselling when necessary and maintain strong relationship with those around you.
It is a good idea to take some time out for you through maintaining friendships and attending social activities were able. This can be very difficult to do if the person being cared for is heavily dependent upon you and is often associated with feelings of guilt. To achieve some time out, you may need to involve your extended family network or friends to assist, or plan to meet while the person you’re caring for is receiving treatment, an inpatient or in the gym.
The better prepared you are for any given situation, the less stressful it will seem. It is important to ensure that you have;
Clinic and hospital contact details
Often you will have questions you would have like to ask hospital staff when you are at home or at other moments when you are less stressed. You should write them down and bring them with you to the next appointment. Sometimes it is also worth writing down the answer so that you can read it back later.
Taking care of yourself
We understand that caring for a loved one and supporting them through their recovery can be a very stressful time for you and your entire family. To ensure that you can provide the support necessary, we strongly encourage you to maintain your own health and wellbeing.
We recommend that you:
Maintain your normal routine as much as possible
Ensure that you eat small regular, nutritious meals and keep up your fluid intake
Make the most of any waiting time by taking short walks outside in the fresh
Air and sunshine (the ICU staff will contact you if your relative’s condition changes)
Make the most of supportive people in your life. Keep in contact with friends and family.
Information specific to visitors to ICU
Hospital visiting hours at Fiona Stanley Hospital at from 8.00am to 8.00pm on most wards, however, the ICU has extended visiting hours.
The ICU visitors’ waiting room in located on Level, just outside the ICU. It has tea and coffee making facilities as well as a small fridge, microwave and television.
Toilets are located next to the lifts.
Facilities available to you and other visitors can be found on the ground floor and include;
The hospital has a limited amount of short-term emergency accommodation for the relatives of critically ill patients who are Intensive Care. These accommodation rooms are located on Level 1, within the ICU waiting area. This accommodation is strictly for short-term use (24 hours). These rooms are not always available and only managed by staff within the ICU.
There are very few accommodation options within walking distance of the hospital.
If you need accommodation assistance, your bedside nurse or shift coordinator can put you in touch with the ward Social Worker.
While you may wish to stay at the bedside of your loved one for as long and often as possible, it is important that you take time to rest.
Staff in the Advanced Lung Disease and Lung Transplant Unit or Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplant Unit will endeavour to assist you and provide timely information and support as able.
If required we can put you in contact with a Social Worker, Cultural Liaison Officer or
Pastoral Care Service
The pastoral care service is available for patients and carers at Fiona Stanley Hospital. The service caters to all spiritual and religious beliefs and is located on the ground level of the main hospital, adjacent to the Cancer Centre.
A contemplation room, prayer room and garden courtyard on level 1 are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week from the main concourse or via a staircase from the pastoral care office.
In some cases, the Pastoral Care Service will organise a ward visit or arrange for an external spiritual representative to attend.
Social work / Welfare officer
A social worker is available from 8.00am to 4.00pm, 7-days a week.
Social workers can provide help with:
Financial assistance including Centrelink, Insurance Commission
of WA State Government Insurance Commission and worker
Assistance for carers
Patient Assist Travel Scheme (PATS) for patients and one family
member who travel more than 100 kilometers. This may cover
travel and accommodation.
Psychological support for relatives.
Feedback, compliments, and complaints
The Customer Liaison Service is available to listen, help and assist you to provide feedback. They can provide support and information about patient rights and responsibilities and liaise with FSH staff where appropriate.
Carers WA are an organisation that provides a voice and support to carers throughout Western Australia. It is free to join and services provided include;
Advocacy and advice – if you are feeling overwhelmed by a situation they are able to problem solve and provide direction to appropriate services
Counselling, if you just need to talk they have counsellor available either via face to face, phone, email or via Skype.
Education through their ‘Prepare to Care” program
Meet other carers and take a break – a social and peer support program.
www.carerswa.asn.au or 1300 CARERS (1300 227 377)