A Caretaker's Guide to Bariatric Surgery
While bariatric surgery can be a difficult and trying time for the patient, it is also a challenging time for that person's caregiver. There are many things that a caretaker must keep in mind while tending to a bariatric surgery patient, and the following tips will help any caretaker get through the weeks immediately following bariatric surgery. Below are some of the best tips to help out a caretaker when they are tending to both the physical and emotional needs of a patient who has just undergone bariatric surgery.
- Help them with their new diet and exercise plan. Bariatric surgery requires a patient to undergo not only a strenuous surgery but also a life-altering post-operative change. As a caretaker, be sure to purchase only the foods and beverages that have been approved by a doctor. Look up unique and fun recipes to keep things interesting for the patient.
- Remind them not to drink with their meals — but to have liquids either just before or just after a meal. The patient will not yet be used to how small their stomach is now, so give gentle reminders to drink liquids only 20 minutes before or 20 minutes after a meal.
- Lend an ear when they need to talk. This is a difficult time for many patients emotionally, and often all they need is someone who is willing to listen to them. Be sure to take time each day to have a conversation with the patient. Talk about whatever they want to talk about — be it the weather, sports or how they are feeling that day.
- Ensure that they are taking their vitamins. The vitamins that they have been prescribed by their doctor are extremely important to their body continuing to function at its best. Be sure to only give them the vitamins that were prescribed to them, do not assume what they might need. Stick to the restrictions outlined by the physician and the surgeon.
- Take them out for healthy, active outings. Once the patient is feeling better and ready to go out, encourage them to do healthy and fun activities. Consider going to the zoo and walking around to see the animals. You could also visit a local farm to get fresh, local produce to use in that week's meals. These outings are not only good for the physical health of the patient, but will help their spirits soar as well.
In the days and weeks immediately following the surgery, recognize how important your role as caretaker is to the patient. Remember that you are there to tend to not only their physical needs, but their emotional needs as well. Bariatric surgery is more than just a weight loss surgery, it is a complete lifestyle change that is difficult and challenging for many patients. The patient will need your support and advice along the way, so it is important to remember how vital your role is in their success.