Pushin' On: UAB Spinal Cord Injury Model System Volume 38 | Number 2 - Page 2

HEALTHY LIVING

Caregiving after SCI : Part 3 - Understanding Burnout

Caregiving for a family member who has a spinal cord injury ( SCI ) offers many unique challenges . This is the third feature on meeting those challenges . Part 1 in this series aimed to help caregivers find a balance between taking care of yourself while caring for your loved one . You can also think of it as having a healthy relationship with yourself . Part 2 aimed to offer tips on managing some of the unique challenges of caring for a partner or spouse .
Here , the aim is to better explain caregiver burnout , how to help prevent it , and what to do if you experience burnout . This is an important toic because burnout is one of the most common problems caregivers face after SCI .
What causes caregiver burnout ?
Stress is the primary cause of burnout . Stress is the mental , emotional , and physical strains brought on by the demands and adversities that follow SCI .
What causes the stress ?
Caregiver stress is often in stages .
• Acute - Life is often chaotic during the early period after injury . There is worry and concern for the condition and recovery of the person with SCI . There is often stress over juggling work , family life , money issues , and many other normal life roles and issues that are disrupted in the aftermath of injury .
• There is usually a high level of support from others during this acute period .
• There is often a greater willingness by caregivers to ask for help and receive help from others .
• Grieving for the loss of the “ old normal ” is also common during this acute period .
• Chronic – Those worries , concerns and stress that you experience during the early period after SCI can also linger for months and years .
• The high level of support from others during the early period after injury often fades over time .
• There is often increasing isolation due to a declining willingness to ask for help and receive help from others .
• It becomes harder for caregivers to balance their personal physical and emotional health and well-being with that of the person with SCI .
• Some people may feel overwhelmed that they have lost control over their situation .
How do I know if stress is becoming a problem ?
Stress can quickly become a problem for people who ignore warning signs that stress is getting out of control . Continued stress puts people at higher risk for serious health problems including illness , addiction , and depression .
There are several signs and symptoms of stress that you can learn to recognize when stress might be getting out of control .
• The way you feel – you might

Participate in UAB Research

Low Carb / High Protein Diet to Improve Metabolic Health in Individuals with SCI
Criteria to Participate
• Have a SCI
• Live in central Alabama and visit UAB 4 times over 3 months
• Willing to undergo lab tests ( blood glucose , insulin and lipid levels , collect a stool sample , and body imaging )
• Complete physical activity and food intake questionnaires
Participants will earn between $ 250 and $ 450 for completing the study . Call 205-996-6896 or email SCIresearch @ uab . edu for information .
Scale Up Project Evaluating Responsiveness to Home Exercise And Lifestyle Tele-Health ( SUPER-HEALTH ) This study evaluates the effects of an exercise program on improving pain , fatigue , physical activity , and physical function . The program is delivered through a tablet app in the convenience of the home using exercise videos .
Criteria to Participate
• Ages 18-64
• Mobility Impairment / Disability
• WiFi Internet access in Home
Participants receive a tablet and Fitbit to use during study and are eligible to keep all equipment at the completion of last study visit . Visit superhealthstudy . org , call ( 205 ) 403- 5509 , or email superhealthstudy @ uab . edu .
2 uab . edu / sci