Caregiving for a Bariatric and Obese Person
Obesity is an American epidemic. A majority of Americans are obese. We are diabetic. We have heart disease and high cholesterol. We don't exercise enough and we eat unhealthy, processed foods. Some of us are morbidly obese, meaning our weight and obesity is the cause of our health problems. The human body can adapt and can sustain obesity, to a degree, but that does not mean it can function and perform daily tasks safely. Many who are morbidly obese need or have a caregiver.
A caregiver is either a medical professional or an untrained family member or friend. A caregiver is someone who has been to school for nursing or works in assisted living. Or it is someone who attends doctors appointments with you and helps you at home. A caregiver is either paid or unpaid. He is either full-time or part time. He is a family member, a friend, a neighbor, or someone unknown whom you hire.
Who your caregiver is and where you find him is up to you. You need to be completely comfortable with this person attending to you, cooking for you, and aiding you with personal issues like toileting and wound care. You will likely be on an intimate level with this caregiver so trust is a must. This is especially true if you are morbidly obese and using a caregiver.
The bariatric patient, or morbidly obese person, will likely have special needs for a caregiver. Issues with skin care, and wounds or infected skin occur frequently. She will have difficulty toileting and will likely need adult incontinence products. Cleanliness is difficult to maintain because of deep skin recesses and folds. She will also benefit from bariatric supplies, sized for her, for daily living.
The caregiver must be careful not to strain his back through using bariatric lifts or by lifting with wedges. A caregiver's health is at risk when caring for the bariatric patient if the caregiver lifts the patient or helps the patient transfer. The caregiver must wear gloves for cleanliness and to maintain patient dignity. He will also have to help change wound dressings or incontinence supplies like diapers.
While no one can say what kind of person you want to take care of you, there are a few benchmarks. You want a caregiver who pays attention at the doctor's office, takes notes on medications or skin care regimens, and who is willing to listen. You want to guide your caregiver in the direction that you want and expect that the caregiver to agree. You need a caregiver you can trust to make purchases for you, from groceries to your discount medical supplies.
A caregiver is not someone who is there to pass judgment. They are there to provide you safe care and assistance. Finding a good caregiver improves your quality of life so don't be afraid to ask questions and give real expectations.
Are you a caregiver? Did we leave out anything important? Please comment below.