So today I attended a workshop run by the Richmond Carer's Association. It was about back care and moving and handling people. I've been wanting to attend something like this since Roch fell the last time - some months ago now. It was useful and informative and also interesting in unexpected ways. Since coming home I have practised one technique on my patient (not absolutely necessary yet) - a safe way of helping him to stand from a sitting position. A dismal failure. He's better off struggling up himself! I'll get back to you when I've worked out what's going wrong. Hope I do better with the rest of it - it isn't exactly inspiring the patient's confidence!
We were an interesting group, and one of the most useful things for me was meeting the other attendees (all women) who are also carers. I was the only person there looking after someone with motor neurone disease.
There was a woman who cares for an adult daughter with cerebral palsy. There was so much to cover that we didn't get a break but she remarked that it was all a break for her. Just being there.
Another participant had to leave early to go back to her husband in hospital. She was a very bright, chatty person who broke down when she was introducing herself at the beginning of the day as she told us she could no longer hug her husband because he was in so much pain. He has bone cancer and is on 'end of life' medication. I hope she felt the sympathy and support that was present for her. When she left our warmest wishes and cries of 'Good luck' followed her out of the room.
A third woman cares for her older partner, whose condition was one that was new to me and so I cannot record it here, but he, like Roch, is beginning to need assistance with standing and falls at least once a week. There have been ambulances and emergency rooms involved, she told us.
We were joined by a Staff Nurse who works at a local Daily Respite Centre for older people. Their youngest client is 64 and their eldest is 102. One volunteer is 92 and she helps clients to the bathroom and assists in other ways.
We were all very focused and anxious to learn and there was a real atmosphere of mutual support.
I just thought - aren't we all great? What a wonderful bunch of people. And many thanks to Richmond Carers. I'm looking forward to the next Workshop and I know I'll be going back for support. I hope I meet some of those women again.