Caring for a loved one that is chronically ill can be challenging for any family. When the loved one is your child, it can add a layer of complexity most parents have trouble navigating. Society expects that we should be able to do all of this on our own. However, for many families raising a child doesn’t just mean that you are feeding, clothing, and providing shelter, but that you are taking measures on a daily basis to manage their health and medical complexities.
Most parents never envision having to juggle the needs of raising a child and also providing medical care each day. If a child is born or acquires a serious health issue, the daily medical interventions needed may feel like an impossible task that swallows you whole. As parents, we do not typically come with medical or nursing degrees, but we are often expected to provide medical treatments daily for our children.
For many parents there comes a point when they realize they can no longer do the care on their own. They know they need the help of a professional. Making the choice to add staff to your home can be a difficult one to make. Adding staff means giving up a sense of ownership to your child’s care, privacy in your home, and admitting you cannot do all of this yourself. How do you know when it is time for your child to have in-home nursing? When making the choice to add Home Care Nursing or Personal Care Assistants for your child, there are some areas you may want to consider.
The care needed for your child may come to a point where the level of expertise is outside of your own abilities. It could be that your child has respiratory needs, infusions, medical treatments, or medications that are difficult for you to manage on your own. Their condition may require monitoring that you are not capable of providing. At this point, having a home care nurse or nursing assistant trained in your child’s care can help to lessen your load. Adding help doesn’t mean you aren’t still caring for your child, but it means you have another set of eyes that are trained to manage medical issues and emergencies. Complex medical needs can be best managed by trained professionals, and having someone to help will enable the best possible outcome for your child.
Quality Time Spent with Your Child
When you are caring for a child that is chronically ill, your relationship with your child can morph from parent/child to nurse/child. If all of your time is spent managing their care, there can be little time left for the quality time of enjoying being a parent. Books can be left unread, projects undone, and play that doesn’t exist because you are too tired to be their parent. Your child needs you to be a parent and not just their nurse. Children want to make memories with you that are filled with laughter, smiles, and fun. If you are exclusively focused on their care, you can begin to forget that they also need you to be their parent. Homecare nursing can take the duty of overseeing your child’s care from you, and free your time to be what you are supposed to be – their parent. Time can be spent hugging, loving and playing with your child instead of giving medications or monitoring their health.
Daily Tasks are Left Undone
In the hectic world of caring for a child with medical complexities, many tasks in your life can be left incomplete. Piles of dishes might pile up in the sink, dinners are ordered out instead of being made, grocery shopping goes by the wayside, and your own appointments aren’t made or attended. As the unfinished tasks start to take up your life, it can begin to clutter your mind and lead to anxiety or depression. If all of your time and energy is focused on your child, there are no moments left for anything else. This may be an indication that you have reached your limit. Life cannot be fully revolved around their care, and having help would enable you to have time to complete your to-dos and tend to yourself.
Personal Relationships Are SufferingIf you are married or in a relationship, you may begin to find a great distance between you and your partner. Due to your exhaustion and fatigue associated with the responsibilities of your child, there may be little energy left to devote to your relationship. As your relationship begins to become more separated, you may begin to feel further isolated which can lead to anxiety and depression. Friendships can also start to strain as you have no one to watch your child. Having time with other adults and socializing is a vital part of our happiness as humans. All of us need moments away from our children to be free of their needs and responsibilities. If your romantic relationship and personal relationships are suffering, it may be time to consider home health care. Having someone that is trained in the needs of your child can give you the time you need to meet friends for coffee or a walk. You might also have time to go on a date with your partner. Feeling connected to others and being away from your child for short periods can help you feel better too.
Your Mental Health is Suffering
When you lack balance in your life, and you have little support your mental health can begin to crack. Parents of children that are disabled deal with traumatic events on a daily basis, and are often living in a state of traumatic stress. Over time the stress can begin to suck out your energy and happiness. Many parents will find themselves dealing with high levels of anxiety, panic attacks, or depression. As your mental health deteriorates, you can start to withdraw from the world around you. For many families, they can find themselves isolated from the world, without support, and without happiness. In order to manage the needs of your child, it is imperative to take care of your mental health. If your mental health is suffering, not only should you consider seeking talk therapy but also in-home care for your child can ease the load you manage on a daily basis.
If you feel that life has become unmanageable, it might be time to contemplate homecare nursing for your child. Making the choice is not simple, but acknowledging your limitations and assessing how the care requirements are impacting you and your families lives can help make these choices easier. Remember that introducing staff to your home does not make you any less of a parent. Your happiness and well-being is equally as important as your child’s care. Don’t forget that no person can ever be tasked to be everything for any one person. By adding nursing or staff to your home, you will be able to spread some of the responsibilities out to others and have time for matters outside of your child.