Heavy loads in nursing and caregiver professions
You love looking after and helping other people. Caregivers such as hospital or geriatric nurses are often totally absorbed in their work. They help patients get back into bed, wash them, sort the pills and potions and are always on call. Many feel physically and emotionally stressed by this. Shift work, no time, caring for the gravely ill and difficult care situations - you need to find a means to restore the balance.
It's certainly a bit of a paradox: precisely the group of healthcare professionals who look after others is also a risk group for occupational stress and damage to health. If you watch your back while working, protect your skin, reduce stress, eat regular meals and get plenty of exercise, you'll be able to permanently beat the challenges of caring for others. There are various ways in which you too, as a caregiver, can stay fit and healthy in the long term.
Protect your back!
Making the beds, lugging laundry sacks around and turning bed-ridden patients – all that can cause lower back pain.
Heed a couple of principles for back-friendly working practices:
- Wear comfortable non-slip shoes and make sure you have a secure stance and a straight back.
- Avoid working bent to the side.
- Use aids such as adjustable height beds and lifters. Concepts such as kinaesthetics or Bobath can help. These help the nursing staff to integrate the patients in their sequences of movements and thus protect their lower back.
Protect your skin
It is very important for caregivers to wash their hands intensively and often. As a rule, it just as common to wear waterproof gloves in daily routine as it is to come into contact with cleaning and surface disinfectants.
That's why the skin of the hands needs extra special care:
Put on some skin lotion regularly and don't wear gloves for more than two hours at a time if possible. These should be free of powder and thiuram.
Experts also advise:
Wash your hands less and disinfect them more, so that the skin doesn't dry out.
According to the 2012 AOK report on days off work, people employed in the health and welfare sectors are most commonly affected by burnout.
But there are people who stay healthy and enjoy life despite the challenging job. Psychologists refer to such individuals as resilient. Are you one of them? Are you a roly-poly doll too? Everybody can train their resilience - their so-called "psychological immune system" - and thus guard themselves against everyday stress factors. Many books have now been published on the subject of "Resilience" and you can find plenty about it on the Internet too.
Eating properly when on shift work
Shift work is always on the agenda in care homes and hospitals. But all of us who work in the evenings or at night are actually working against their biological clocks.
These dietary tips will help you through the night
- Don't eat greasy, fried food or meals that are difficult to digest – these make you tired. On the other hand, protein and carbohydrates in noodles, potatoes, bread, quark or eggs are good for you.
- Eat small portions. These mean less work for the digestive tract, because it also rests at night.
- Eat a little something every three to four hours, this way, you will stay fit.
Be good to your veins!
You know the story: you stand a lot at work, do the shopping quickly in the car on your way home and you don't often have time for sports.
Are your legs tired and heavy too? Wear medical compression stockings while you work. These are medical aids that are prescribed by the doctor and are fitted individually by a surgical appliance retailer. The defined pressure gradient ensures that the venous valves close and the blood is pumped back to the heart more quickly. So your legs feel fit and relaxed all day long.
One very special feature of medical compression stockings from medi is that they don't look like medical aids. They are as sheer as nylons and bang up to date thanks to a large selection of standard and trend colours for every fashion season.
You should also play sports to keep your veins healthy! If you don't have the time, simply try to modify your behaviour in a couple of things.
- Ride your bike to work or get off the bus earlier and walk the rest of the way.
- Park your car a little way from the office.
- Take the stairs.
- Go for a walk after work. This prevents venous diseases, relaxes the back, and clears the head.