Of patients who have suffered from spinal cord injuries, those dealing with spinal disorders, or any variation of spinal complications, personal assistance is often required to help with daily activities. Simple tasks like getting out of bed in the morning, bathing, and getting dressed are often taken for granted by individuals not dealing with such complications, but for those who are, depending on the level of injury, aid can help greatly.
As a caregiver for someone dealing with spinal issues, there are many challenges that will be faced throughout the process. The best approach is to make yourself available at all times and maintain positivity throughout. A common mistake many caregivers make is letting the initial worry and concern for the recovery time to add stress to their already demanding responsibilities, while learning about the necessary steps in delivering proper care and attention.
For caregivers, education in the field of spinal cord injuries and all forms of spinal conditions is crucial in understanding the tasks needed to assist those suffering from such complications. Aside from aiding in simple daily activities, one may have to learn about respiratory care, or bowel and bladder control for more extreme cases. Recognition of any pressure sores or harmful skin conditions will also be a regular requirement. In case of an emergency, ventilator care or CPR may be required. Though all of this can seem overwhelming, there are many reliable sources that can be found online and in stores written by experienced medical professionals.
The main areas to focus on as a caregiver include preventing further spinal injury, managing the current injury and pain, and managing the reflex phase. The purpose being that after experiencing a high spinal injury, spinal shock tends to follow when all spinal reflexes cease and muscle tone decreases. Over time, both do begin to recover, though the initial shock can lead to decreased blood pressure.
A very important consideration is how to properly lift and transport patients dealing with spinal issues. The “log-rolling” technique maintains the alignment of the spine, keeping the head and legs supported, which may require three or more caregivers. Depending on the case, stretchers or spinal boards may suffice. However, in order to prevent soft-tissue damage in patients with little to no sensation in the skin surrounding their spines, be sure to lay down a sheet separating them from the stretcher.
Taking care of an individual who has suffered a serious or traumatic spinal injury is a very difficult task, but doing so is an act of selflessness in order to provide the best help available for said patient. For more resources on how to offer the best care possible, visit AmericanNurseToday.com.