Dorothy's story - caring for someone with a brain injury

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In support of brain injury awareness week, we spoke to our carer Dorothy who has been supporting someone with a brain injury for over 10 years.

Hi, I’m Dorothy and I’ve been working with Pulse for over five years. I have been working with my client for 10 years now but when her care package was moved over to Pulse, I joined the team to continue supporting her.

My client’s husband is her main carer but requires support from me for six hours each day. Sometimes he requires extra care and when he does, I’m always on hand.

My client acquired her brain injury over 30 years ago after contracting meningitis.  The results of her condition were manageable at first but as the severity of her brain injury progressed, it became clear that the family needed extra support to ensure she could continue to live the life she desired.

My client’s condition has left her extremely dependent and as a result she needs support with everything from eating to washing and support with using her walking aids. Every day is different with my client. Obviously, I have set responsibilities but I never know how she is going to be from one day to the next. One day she may be very able to use her walking aids and other days she may not have as much energy. A big part of my role is being able to adapt myself to my client’s mood, abilities and needs. She has lost the use of her voice and so it is very important that I am aware of non-verbal signs that she gives me.

My client was a qualified lifeguard and has always loved the water so with the help of her local outreach team, we take her swimming regularly which she loves. She also enjoys to paint, listen to music and be read to. All of these activities really help keep her engaged and motivated.

Prior to supporting my client, I was a registered nurse and hadn’t had much exposure to the effects of brain injuries. Working with her these past 10 years has opened my eyes to the complexity of the condition and the effects it has on the lives of those with the condition, as well as their families.

My role as a carer has been nothing but rewarding and has helped me to re-engage with my clinical past and reminds me why I chose to become a nurse all those years ago.

If you’re thinking about becoming a carer to support someone with a brain injury then I would say as long as you are understanding, patient and motivated to support others then this job is perfect for you. Pulse Community Healthcare will provide you with all relevant client specific training to ensure you are skilled to support each individual but ultimately you need to share our goal of making a difference to the lives of others.

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