Life of a carer leads to emotional and physical drain (Borek et al., 2018). They experience more mental and physical health problems in comparison to others because they care for others for several hours a week change (Rhodes et al., 2014). Depression, anxiety and back pain are some of the health concerns faced by carer along with feeling of anger, guilt, loneliness and resentment (Small et al., 2017). Carer plays a significant role in health and social care organization and thus their good health and well-being is highly required in order to get better health services (Black, 2012). Healthier workforce and high engagement level by staff members results into better patient experience and high satisfaction rate (Limb, 2017).
Primary prevention and promoting well-being
A healthy and well-being staff member can take care of patients more effectively. It has been observed in the studies that increased work engagement of carer may leads to improved patient safety (Tarzia et al., 2015). Well-being staff members can efficiently impart care and support to patients and thus minimize the mortality and other infection rates. It has been reported that there is high patient mortality rates in the healthcare organizations where healthcare staff member takes more leaves due to sickness (Wray, 2013). It is believed by the staff member that their wellbeing and health directly impacts the care given by them. Absence rate, staff retention and productivity are positively impacted by the efficient employee engagement. Employers are more benefitted by the wellbeing and good health of staff members (Black, 2012). On the contrary, inadequate engagement by staff members and their improper wellbeing can result into significant rise in cost for the organization (Limb, 2017). Poor health of staff member also resulted into several indirect costs such as utilization of temporary staff members to compensate the work of ill workers, recruitment cost for the staff members who left the job due to poor job satisfaction, job stress or illness and loss in productivity due to more number of leaves taken by the staff members or poor engagement at workplace (Dickinson et al., 2016).
Integrated approach for the identification assessment and support for the health and well-being of carer has been developed. It was done to maintain the emotional well-being and physical health of carers, support and empower carer to handle their professional and personal life effectively (Khan and Khurshid, 2017). It also ensures that right support must be received by the carer in the right place at the right time. Primary care team ensures to support carers and handle the capability of care imparted by carer (Borek et al., 2018). There must be improvement in the assessment of carers in primary care in order to identify their needs quickly before the deterioration of their health and wellbeing. Carers are known to impart care and avail caregiving services that can directly impact their health and well being. Some of the support given by primary care teams to carer includes offering Sunday appointment to carer, flexible appointment times and referrals to avail local services (Hitchen et al., 2011). Emerging and identified needs of carer can be supported if the local agencies start working in collaboration. The key requirements of the carer can be supported by sharing their education and information with primary care team who assist them to impart support and skilled caregiving. It is desired that carers must obtain awareness training during the time of induction and other ongoing professional development programs (Tambuyzer and Van Audenhove, 2013). Approach consistency in such programs can be achieved through the integration of health and social care teams. Referral can be done on the behalf of carer in order to impart required care to service user without compromising the health of carer. Distress and poor capacity symptoms which can impact the willingness or ability of carer to impart care can be recognized easily after such trainings (Small et al., 2017).
Identification of risk factors and appropriate interventions
Personal accountability and work pressure has led carer to continue working in spite of their unwell condition. Sickness of staff is majorly associated with poor mental health. Work-related stress is another cause for the illness. Musculoskeletal disorders are another illness cause which occurs due to involvement of carer in physical activities (Lord, Livingston and Cooper, 2015). Carer and other staff workers who have night shifts, working in isolated or remote conditions, are outsourced employees experience poor health and well-being as compared to other employees (Ryan et al., 2010). A major determinant for well-being and effective staff engagement is the working environment. Carer and staff members working in different healthcare organizations possess different engagement levels for ill health. For instance, carer working in isolated environment as ambulance staff worker has low staff engagement level and poor well being. Carer working in such environment often possesses high work-related stress, less job satisfaction and poor mental health (Tuffrey-Wijne et al., 2014). A healthy work environment can assist in good health and wellbeing of carer. Absence from work due to mental ill health is a key cause in health and social care organization. It is evident that mental wellbeing of staff members can be improved which further helps in improving the health care services. Better organizational plan, policies and psychological therapies can be beneficial to support and improve the mental well being of carer and other staff members working in health and social care sector. Organizations can assist the staff members in handling absence due to long-term sickness (Tuffrey-Wijne et al., 2014). It is evident that the early interventions from the initiation of sickness can assist in minimizing the number of days off from work and can also prevent its recurrence. Staff members often do not get healthy food at their workplace especially during night shifts. Available retail outlets sell cheap junk food which lead to obesity and overweight. Policies are available in health and social care organizations to assist the staff members in minimizing obesity and control overweight. There are policies in health and social care organizations which support their employees for smoking cessation because smoking leads to illness and absence from the duty (Donner, Mutter and Scior, 2010).
The major hindrance to carers is the inability to share the relevant information. Burden of carer to repeat the sensible information can be reduced which further minimizes the barrier associated with information sharing (Tuffrey-Wijne et al., 2016). They can be involved actively while planning the care plan for the service user. They must be permitted to share their views in advance during the development of care plan. They can be engaged completely during planning, and redesigning of services. Though, carer will have expertise in disease history of service user, they require assistance from the healthcare practitioner related to dealing of course and management of disorder and the associated caregiving challenges. Thus, the imparted services must be continuously monitored in order to identify the improvement areas (Ingleton et al., 2011). This approach seems to be beneficial for the health and wellbeing of carer and to meet the requirements of carer. It helps in protecting the highlighted issues more quickly and reducing breakdown and crisis of family. Health inequalities for the carers from vulnerable groups can be minimized after the complete identification, and assessment to impart support. The physical and mental health need of carer must be addressed as soon as possible by the healthcare practitioner after the identification of required support needs (Lovatt et al., 2015).
Interventions to support carers
Carers of individuals suffering with long term illness often face mental and physical health conditions and burden. Stress on carer can be reduced with the application of several interventions (Edelstein et al., 2016). Interventions can be utilized to support carers so that they can maintain their health such as psychological intervention, telehealth, and e Health interventions. Psychological interventions assist in the improvement of social and psychological functioning including interpersonal relationships, emotional and well-being of carer. It has been concluded in studies that psychological morbidity of carer such as burden, depression and stress can be reduced and well-being of carer can be improved through psychological interventions (Brooks et al., 2017). Self-paced novel approach has been given by e Health interventions to deliver care. Psycho-educational interventions are considered as the most admired online approach given through network support from professionals with high acceptability and satisfaction rate (Sin et al., 2018). Web-based interventions for caregiver impart support which can have a positive impact on psychological and social outcomes (Kaltenbaugh et al., 2015). A study was conducted to determine the type of caregiver interventions in developmental and ageing disability research. It was concluded that family-support interventions were beneficial for participants for their well-being and enhanced satisfaction and service access (Heller, Gibbons and Fisher, 2015).
Other effective intervention to support carer was Telehealth interventions including various technologies like telephone-based, web-based, video-based and remote/telemetry monitoring. Interventions were delivered through decision support consultation, education, cognitive/behavioural therapy, and collection and monitoring of data, clinical care delivery and social support. Significant improvement in the outcome was observed in caregivers who fealth comfortable and satisfied by using Telehealth. Thus, it can be concluded that Telehealth has a positive impact on disease care, hospital and home care (Chi and Demiris, 2014).
Poor health and well being of staff member resulted into their suffering along with their family members, friends, patients to whom they impart care, and the organizations for whom they are working. On the contrary, effective engagement, good health and well being of staff members resulted into significant improvements in safety, experience of patients, staff retention and productivity, and less absence rate due to sickness. Thus, a healthy and engaged service provider having good physical and mental well being can impart sustainable and safe patient-centred care.
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