Caregiver

If your family member or friend has chronic hepatitis C and is going through treatment, chances are, they could use your support. Treatment for people with chronic hepatitis C is very important. But it isn't easy. If your loved one is receiving treatment for chronic hepatitis C, he or she will likely experience uncomfortable side effects.

It’s important to keep in mind that the person giving care and the person receiving care are in this together – sometimes referred to as “care partners.”  You as the person with the disease may be the one requiring assistance, but the needs and concerns of both partners must be addressed for the relationship to stay healthy.

The person giving care – the caregiver – often experiences many of the same emotions that you might experience: stress, anger, fear, isolation, depression.  As the caregiver takes on more responsibilities it can be overwhelming for him or her to balance assisting you, along with their job, the kids, household duties and so forth.  This can lead to the caregiver feeling burned out.

It’s very important for the caregiver to take steps to ward off burnout.  One of the biggest mistakes that caregivers make is to think that they can – or should – handle everything themselves.  They start to neglect their own needs, both emotional and physical, and the strain begins to take a toll.  The warning signs for burnout can include:

  • Decreased interest in work
  • Withdrawing from social contacts
  • Losing interest in hobbies or sports
  • Trouble sleeping or relaxing
  • Losing or gaining weight
  • Emotional or physical exhaustion
  • Feeling hopeless or helpless

To counteract burnout, the following strategies are recommended for the caregiver:

  • Have a support network
  • Attend a support group to receive feedback and coping strategies
  • Rotate the type of care giving responsibilities among family and friends
  • Get exercise and maintain a healthy diet
  • Stay involved in hobbies
  • Establish “quiet time” for reading, meditation, or massage
  • Consult with a professional to explore burnout issues
  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat healthy
  • Get regular check-ups with your healthcare provider
  • If you hear bad news or feel overwhelmed by a bunch of data, give yourself time to digest new details. Also, be sure you get the facts, so that you don't let misinformation throw you for a loop
  • Accept your feelings and talk about them with your friends and family
  • Maintain social contacts. Meet a friend for coffee or a walk. Use the phone ore-mail to stay in touch

Successful caregivers learn that they need to care for themselves if they are to effectively care for others.

It is very important to tell your healthcare provider if your loved one has any side effect that is bothersome or does not go away. Consider the following ways to help your friend or family member cope with these side effects:

Make sure your loved one's healthcare provider is aware of any side effects;

Encourage your loved one and remind him or her that even though treatment is challenging, it is very important for their health and it won't last forever;

Try to be patient and not take things personally. Experiencing the side effects of treatment can be challenging for the patient, and depression and irritability are part of them;

Remind your loved one to drink plenty of water, get lots of rest, and eat a healthy diet.

 

Here are some important Questions that the patient with Hepatitis C  must to have in mind when  you both will go for the  first visit to the Doctor, please remind him about it or help him make this questions:

Do I need to start treatment?

What is my genotype and how can it affect my treatment outcome?

What is my viral load and how can it affect my treatment outcome?

What kind of treatment should I receive?

How long will treatment last?

Do I have any other conditions that will complicate treatment?

Should I be tested for hepatitis A and B?

Do I need a liver biopsy?

What medications should I avoid while I am on treatment?

What precautions do I need to take while I am on treatment?

How often will I have doctor appointments?

What tests will I need to take?

How will treatment affect my daily life? Will treatment affect my ability to work?

What side effects will I have?

Are there any long-term risks from treatment?

 

REMEMBER: TOGETHER WE ARE STRONG!


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