Caring for the caregiver

I was interviewing caregivers of organ failure patients for the first time. In order to  assess the health status of caregivers in general and understand their experiences, I prepared a set of questions. Sometimes just talking and learning from their experiences can be so overwhelming that you realize that nothing has to go as planned. While narrating their entire experience, all the questions were answered. The experiences they shared were so overwhelming it made me think as to how important it was to take care of someone going through a health crisis. The same day I interviewed a caregiver of a successful heart transplant and caregiver who lost her loved one to multiple organ failure. That’s the irony of life, it’s not always that people get lucky. Sometimes these experiences may seem so lengthy and elaborate and the listener can lose patience but that’s the caregiver just sharing their entire life events in brief. We can’t choose a timeframe to fit their entire experience. They go through an emotional turmoil and somehow still manage to hold strong and spread positivity for the betterment of their patient. 

Caregivers show so much resilience and strength and each caregiver would have different experiences and suggestions to give which may help someone else in the future. As a social worker, I have  learnt that they need support and counseling. Doctors and treating physicians make a diagnosis  and  advise treatment options and move to the next patient. But each family goes through so much trauma and if there’s anything we as social workers can do, it should be trying to help them breathe easy.

Dr. Rachel Chacko
Masters in Social Work,
Stella Maris College,