Being the caregiver of a family member who has a respiratory disease can be challenging and demanding. As a carer, you play an important role by not only ensuring that the patient receives the treatment properly but also by providing the patient emotional reassurance and encouraging him/her to continue the treatment correctly.
If the patient is a child, then it can often become difficult and disturbing for the parents who are the primary caregivers. Though simple, nebulization may seem frightening at first to small children.
Here are a few steps that can guide you as a carer in the management of nebulization for your patient.
Try to overcome your own fears or myths about nebulization. Remember, your patient is relying on you for assurance and support.
Empower yourself with education
The more you know, the more confident and less stressed you will feel. Get the necessary information on how to carry out nebulization and the DOs and DON’Ts. Do not be afraid to clear any doubts with the help of your physician.
Be alert and receptive
In the case of asthma, a small trigger such as dust or cold air can build up to a massive attack. Watch out for early signs of respiratory difficulties, infection or allergic attack. Contact your doctor for the relevant treatment before it cascades into something severe. If affected, keep track of symptoms such as wheezing, congestion, and cough.
As a caregiver, it is natural to often experience anxiety, fear, grief and a feeling of “Why us?”. But it is necessary for you to accept the condition and find ways to manage it better.
Remember, a caregiver plays a central role when it comes to nebulization. Being a primary care provider can be challenging at times but with the right attitude and the support of a medical team, it can be rewarding too.
Have a plan
You need to know about all the signs that indicate when the nebulizer is working properly and when it is not working properly. If you are a caregiver, especially to an elderly COPD patient (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), have a back-up plan to arrange for an alternative device if something goes wrong with your current device.
Some final points to note:
Your nebulization equipment is as important to you as it is for your loved one. There is no need to be afraid of it, but you also need to understand its working fully. Remember, years ago many of these things had not even been invented – but today, many people are able to live a longer, happier life because of these developments. Help your patient understand this and you will have empowered him/her to keep living each day to its fullest.
Eur Respir Rev 2015; 24:498-504