Over 35 million Americans deal with some form of chronic pain. Caring for them can be heartbreaking —and backbreaking — work. Caregivers are incredibly important health care providers, whether they’re a family member or a licensed nurse. It’s not an easy job to do, and taking care of someone who is in pain almost every day is a test of both emotional and physical strength.
Learn everything you can about pain management
No one wants to see someone else in pain, but it’s even worse when you don’t understand the cause. Seeing a loved one suffer can make you feel useless and anxious. But just by making an effort to learn about your loved one’s condition, you’re already one step ahead.
Research everything you can about the condition, treatments and pain management options. Choose a doctor and attend appointments together. Take notes. Ask questions. Create an action plan for emergencies or for days when the pain is unbearable. With a little understanding and extra knowledge, both you and your loved one will worry less and feel more prepared.
Providing pain care
Learn how to assess your loved one’s pain. Chronic pain management involves a combination of medication, physical therapy, mental health therapy and other treatments. Keep communication open with your loved one and make sure he or she is following the treatment plan as it is intended.
A checklist of daily tasks will help you both stay organized. When someone is dealing with chronic pain, it can be easy to forget things like refills and doctor’s appointment. Offer gentle reminders and keep an eye for your loved one without being overbearing.
Take care of yourself, too
You can’t help your loved one feel better if you don’t feel good yourself. It can be easy to overwork yourself and dedicate every breath to a loved one in pain. It’s also easy to tie in your own sense of well being to how your loved one feels.
A caregiver’s job is to provide love, compassion, physical and mental support, but realize you can’t do everything. Most importantly, you can’t eliminate their pain. Be there for your loved one in every way you can and don’t get discouraged if you can’t handle something. Don’t forget about yourself and your own health. Your loved one will thank you for it.