Thursday, January 7, 2010

Avoiding Caregiver Burnout

A recent article in the American Pain Foundation’s newsletter was entitled “Avoiding Caregiver Burnout”. This title reminded me of my caregivers. They were first my mother, now my husband and soon to be my children.

I thought about these people, who did not ask for the job, and what they must be feeling while I’m in the hospital getting blood and morphine pumped into my veins. They sit in hospital rooms, doctor’s offices and watch while I suffer. Their lives are affected by Sickle Cell Disease as much as mine is.

Before reading the Pain Foundation’s article, I personally imagined that caregiver burnout must surely be a reality for some people dealing with sick family and friends. Working full-time just adds more stress to this situation.

Here’s what the Pain Foundation suggests to reduce caregiver burnout:

  1. Stay positive. Your metal health is just as important as the person who is being cared for.
  2. Balance your life by taking breaks to do hobbies or things you love.
  3. Protect your health. (Put your mask on first, then help others) Get rest, eat well, and take vitamins.
  4. Seek out help. There are support groups and resources for information. Know what you can do and acknowledge what you can’t. (ask for help)
  5. Keep communication open and be patient. Pain affects people differently; they need your patience and kindness.
  6. If people offer help, have a list ready of what needs to be done. (Grocery shopping, help cooking, cleaning the house, or raking the yard.)
There is no shame in asking for help from family members, church members or neighbors. People who see you care for a sick loved one will jump in to help….don’t be afraid to ask




  1. Interesting post, i like it very much,, thanks for sharing this post....Life Settlement Company

  2. Thanks LC. I'm glad to hear that this blog is helpful.

  3. I wanted to thank you for your support of those with sickle cell. I also wanted to introduce a new organiztion that I am forming. It is a national registry of volunteers dedicated to the advocacy, education and outreach to those with SCD. It is called SCD Soldier Network and the web address is
    Once again Thank You (Phyllis Zachery-Thomas)

  4. P.
    I know what it's like to have caregiver burnout personally. I've watched over my dad for the last 5 years and had to manage all of his affairs since he wasn't making the best decisions. The last few months dementia has kicked in and he is no longer safe to be around my family and children and I have had to hire 24/7 care to watch out for him. It would have helped if my other family members lived anywhere close and they could have helped. This was not the case for me.

    On a personal note, I am interested in exchanging links with you from my medical blog ( over to your medical website. Let me know how you want to be linked and I can get you listed in a few days.

    On a business note, I know the owner over at and was wondering if they could get listed in this blog under a category like Medical Resources or something like that?

    Let me know if you’re interested in either. Look forward to hearing back from you.

    (long time diabetic)
    Let's practice love, acceptance, & forgiveness

    1. Hey Jason, I'm following your blog and I'm excited to see your information.

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    1. Thank you Claudia...appreciate the info.

  6. “…caregiver burnout must surely be a reality for some people dealing with sick family and friends.” – Yes, indeed. And this also goes to professionals who are providing care to patients. There are moments when people lose their drive to do their job for many reasons. It can be stress, lack of time for yourself, or lack of connection. It is important to acknowledge these reasons and take some action to relieve the stress and other factors that are causing the burn-out. Having some fun and taking a break can restore your fighting spirit.

    1. I know medical staff can experience burnout too. That's why I appreciate them soo much. I say a big "THANK YOU" for everything they do.