Guest piece- The five stages of being a carer (Trevor Clower)

Hello, my name is Trevor Clower, I am a carer, my son has a learning disability and autism, he is 44 years old, so that means I have been a carer for 44 years.

However, I am here today to talk about another kind of carer.

A person who goes through life making relationships and some get married.

They form a family life with kids and a home with a job and gets on with the day-to-day things that entails.

When suddenly, without any warning, their nearest and dearest is struck down with something. This is when, this person accepts their role as a responsibility towards the patient, someone they love, and cherish.

This is the point where the Five Sequences of Events starts to happen.

The first thing to be affected in this Sequence of Events will be your job. Maybe make it part time or just leave the job completely because of the time needed to be a full time carer.

The second thing in this Sequence of Events is your social life is reduced, severely. Not having the spare time to keep appointments, or arrangements, because of the pressures of being a Carer and its demands.

The third thing, in this Sequence of Events, is finding all the promises from good intentioned people to help you will dwindle because they too have a life to lead and they too have commitments of their own to deal with. In addition, you will get lots of advice from good intentioned people, but it is you, the carer, that has to carry out all this advice, which only adds to the 24 hours a day 7 days a week care you’re already giving.

The fourth thing, in this Sequence of Events, is the isolation. THE WORST! You start to sleep like a cat, the slightest noise in the night you’re awake. You can’t leave the house for more than an hour, for fear of the person you’re caring for has wandered out the house or fallen out of bed or taking the wrong medication. Professionals start to talk AT you, and not listen to you or take the time to understand what you are dealing with.

The fifth thing, in this Sequence of Events, is depression. This is when the you eventually pop up on the radar of services, but not as a carer, as a patient, for the first time, as a complete wreck. You cannot care effectively, and so the individual you care for places greater demands on services.

I hope that my words here will fall upon ears of someone who can make a difference, by intervening with this Sequence of Events.

By getting the professionals to include and consult the carer, by asking their advice on how to administer their treatment in a way that the patient will accept and understand.

By inviting the carer to patient meetings and listening to their problems in an open way, so no one is under any illusion on the amount of work and effort everyone is doing on behalf of the patient- that includes both the professionals and the carer.

This will effectively stop the isolation accruing and it will help the carer to feel valued and listened to.

By including the carer from the outset it will offer the professional a person who will have known the patient for most of their life.

Therefore the carer’s expertise can be put to good use in the administration of the treatment and effectively make the professional decisions have a more positive result.

So finally you will have a much happier patient, and we all know a happy patient always responds well to treatment.

You also have a happier carer, because you have intervened effectively, with the Five Sequence of Events, and stopped them from continuing.

And with the professional making better and more cost effective decisions and also keeping the carer from needing services, by simply doing what they do in a slightly different way, and including the carer, this will lead to a happier accountant too.

Thank you for reading my blog.

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