4.5.4 Provide support to the caregivers

It is important to realize how stressful it can be to care for people with TB and how important the caregiver is in helping the patient to recover completely from TB. Caregivers need to be respected even if they find it difficult to support the patient with TB; if the patient allows, the caregiver should be involved in making decisions about treatment. Providing support to the caregivers is an important psychosocial element of treatment for chronic conditions (45)

Some areas that may help assess the stress in caregivers are:

  • worries and anxiety around caring for the person with TB;
  • practical challenges (e.g. burden on the caregivers’ time, freedom, money);
  • ability to carry out other daily activities, such as work or participation in community events;
  • physical fatigue;
  • social support available to the caregivers;
  • psychological well-being.

Once their needs have been assessed, the health-care provider can help by:

  • providing information;
  • linking the caregiver with community services and supports;
  • discussing respite care, which is when another family member or appropriate person can take over the care of the patient temporarily while the main caregiver takes a rest or does other things they need to do;
  • offering problem-solving or stress management counselling;
  • referring the caregiver to mental health services, if needed.

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