Feb 052013

Excerpt from the chapter, The Practice of Caregiving:

At Enso House, guests are cared for twenty-four hours a day. That means a core caregiver needs to be in the room or nearby, at least in a semi-awake state. I asked our fulltime volunteer nurse, MyoO, how she does it. “You have done many night shifts; how do you usually do it? Do you stay awake the whole night in a chair? What do you do?” She explained,

“It really depends on what the person needs. If it’s a night shift and I can trust that they will ring the bell, then I can sleep in my room. I turn on the monitor really loud, so I can really hear it. It’s not really deep sleep. You can listen somehow with one ear. I have to be very careful that I don’t get too tired, because if I get too tired, there is a higher risk that I won’t hear it.

“I think you really have to be careful that you get your sleep, so that you make the right decisions in the night; you do what needs to be done and don’t make compromises because you’re tired.

“If a patient needs more help, then you may need to sleep in the room—like if they have a catheter. We had a patient who was always pulling at the catheter. So we had to sleep in the room and really be careful because she could just pull it out. It really depends on what the patient needs.”

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