Effects of Rehabilitation on the Family
Your family can play a vital role in your rehabilitation process. In fact, one of
the most important factors in your recovery is family involvement and support.
What are the possible effects of disability on the family?
Family members are also affected by your disability. In many cases, they may become
co-managers of your care. They may undergo many changes as a result of your disability.
For example, your family members may also grieve your loss of ability. Severe injury,
chronic disease, or disability may mean a change in family roles. For example, a housewife
may need to return to work after her husband's disability. A son may need to adjust
his work schedule to help care for an elderly parent. These changes can cause stress
and conflict in the family. Financial problems due to medical bills or unemployment
can occur, adding more stress on the family. Changes in living arrangements, childcare
issues, and community re-entry can all pose new problems.
By working together with the rehabilitation team, you and your family can help reduce
some of the adverse effects of disability:
Identify how the disability affects the family
Work together on realistic solutions
Participate in family education and counseling
Plan for discharge and community re-entry
Why is family support important?
Family acceptance and support can help you deal with issues related to self-esteem
and self-image after disability. Positive attitudes and reinforcement from loved ones
often help you work towards recovery. Family participation, flexibility, and open
communication can overcome many barriers associated with disability. Families who
inspire hope can help you adjust and become more confident in your abilities.
What is the impact of caregiving on the caregiver?
While your family are motivated to take care of you, the emotional and physical toll
of caregiving can be overwhelming at times. First of all, consider the amount of caregiving
that is expected of families outside the rehabilitation facility. Most caregivers
are unpaid family members or friends that provide full- or part-time care, even when
you also have a healthcare professional.
As a result, caregivers have unique stress. Caregivers often feel unprepared for their
caregiving role. Often they feel isolated, anxious, and depressed. An additional concern
is maintaining good communication with the healthcare team and other available resources.
This role is time-consuming and can be confusing. The various roles may require a
Investigate and suggest resources to ensure independence in the home
Facilitate and provide physical care for the impaired family member
Contribute financially to the home
Care for other family members
Respond to the ups and downs in rehabilitation care
Ensure that contractors and builders are licensed and ensured
What can be done to assist caregivers?
Caregivers must be educated to meet the demands of your rehabilitation plan. In fact,
they should be included in the development of this plan. Specifically, educational
topics should include:
The cause and effect of the injury or illness
Any potential complications of the injury or illness, and information on how
to recognize and prevent these complications
Medicines, their schedule, side effects, and functions
Required exercises and task-learning techniques
The social and emotional tasks of your rehabilitation
How to reintegrate your into the community after rehabilitation
If this preparation is not provided, caregivers may be overprotective and unwittingly
impede your recovery process.
Not only should caregivers be educated for their role, they must also be supported.
Whether this is a counseling program or a problem-solving supportive team interaction,
support helps diminish the isolation and anxiety associated with caregiving.
Caregivers must also find time for themselves, away from their caregiving roles. This
perhaps is the most important, yet least available, coping strategy that may be accessible
to caregivers. The importance of caregivers cannot be underestimated in your successful
rehabilitation. As caregivers gain confidence, they and their loved ones, should find
caregiving less stressful and more rewarding.