Carers; the only people who know more than Surgeons… but don’t tell the Surgeons that

Regardless of which field you are in you will come across a Carer in some capacity, even if sometimes they don’t realize it themselves. These Carers might be parents, daughters, sons, lawyers or accountants and occasionally they’ll be professional full-time Carers. Despite their occupation or relation to the patient, they should be regarded as the experts they truly are.

Their specialist subject is your patient and they could be the most valuable resource you have into how best to proceed with that patient’s care. A really common and incorrect belief is that Carers are only present with patient’s with Learning Disabilities. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Often people with Carers will have full mental faculties but require assistance in one particular area for example. More often than not, this is the area which requires treatment.

For example elderly patients often struggle with Stoma care; the task of its maintenance often falls to a family member or spouse. So when you ask the patient “Has your stoma always been this active?” and they nod along, not wanting to make a fuss, have a look at their Carer or relatives!

Equally with wound dressings, bowel movements, bladder control or memory loss particularly, a patient is often unaware of any changes if they have someone looking after them.

A Carer or relative can be a treasure trove of vital information that will lead to both an easier shift for you and a better outcome for the patient.

If they say they have complete continence, yet their significant other is looking doubtful ASK, it will save more than just a clean set of sheets in the long run.

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