Caring for someone that is paralysed is physically and emotionally challenging. Preparation, management and patience are key to successfully caring for someone that is completely paralysed.
A care plan for a person with paralysis depends on the cause of their paralysis and the symptoms they are experiencing. However, the aim while caring for someone with paralysis is to ensure that they feel as independent as possible.
What to keep an eye out for
Bedsores & Pressure sores
People with paralysis are highly prone to bed sores and should be turned every hour. Bedsores are very difficult to treat and can lead to further complications. Therefore, prevention is truly better than cure here. The areas upon which bedsores are most likely to develop are the hips, shoulders, and elbows. You must be observant to these areas and if redness or tenderness appear, contact your GP. Cushions, mattresses and other pressure-relieving devices are available to help reduce pressure on affected areas. Further, areas that are already affected should be kept clean and dry as wet skin is more vulnerable to damage from sustained pressure.
This is common amongst those that have recently been diagnosed with paralysis, the onset of depression is two to three times greater than in someone without the condition. There are a number of signs you can look for to prevent your loved one from becoming depressed. Some signs to watch for are – oversleeping, changes in weight, loss of interest, and general negativity.
Equipment you should invest in
Hospital Beds – Hiring a hospital bed for your home is an ideal option as your loved one can remain in the home comfortably. Hospital beds make it easier for you to move your loved one – specifically in raising and lowering the person.
Wheelchairs – Electric wheelchairs are best for those with quadriplegia (paralysis in all four limbs). The NHS supplies them free< of charge. However, their selection is limited. If you want a newer more advanced model, you will have to pay for it. Your local NHS wheelchair service may be able to help fund some of the cost.
Standing Chairs – A new type of wheelchair referred to as a ‘standing chair’ has recently been developed. In addition to having the same functionalities of a wheelchair, it allows for a person to rise to standing position and reduces the risk of developing bedsores. However, they are still fairly expensive.
Managing Your Finances
Understandably, day to day disability concerns will be your primary financial concern, but you should plan out future medical expenses, prioritise bills, keep systematic records, and talk to your employer about disability benefits.