OT C.A.R.E Project
UKZN fourth year Occupational Therapy (OT) students have been running a C.A.R.E Project which aims to ensure the wellbeing of caregivers who work at Muthande Society for the Aged (MUSA) in KwaDabeka, Clermont.
The C.A.R.E (Caregiver Awareness and Relief Everyday) Project teaches caregivers exercises and techniques to improve their physical health and wellbeing.
‘We hope to ensure that the health and wellbeing of the caregivers is maintained and promoted. If the caregivers were to become ill or unable to fulfil their duties, the people for whom they care will not have the assistance they require,’ said Ms Thishari Naicker.
The project began its caregiver training at the beginning of May and is run by four students: Naicker, Ms Kelly Walker, Ms Noluthando Nkosi and Ms Aamina Hoosain.
‘Our project aimed to equip the caregivers with knowledge and skills to address their numerous concerns in order to ensure their composure and generosity during caregiving tasks,’ said Walker.
The students achieved their goal through teaching “back care principles”, during transferring, etc. ‘This will be comforting knowledge for the service users to possess as they know that their own health and wellbeing is being cared for,’ Walker said.
The students held weekly sessions with seven of the caregivers between 14h00 and 15h00 on Mondays and Wednesdays over a six week period.
MUSA is a registered NGO/NPO organisation in KwaDabeka, which was established to serve the otherwise neglected elderly in the community. It aims to improve the quality of life of the elderly through providing for their economical, psychological, health and social needs.
The organisation conducts home visits to provide the elderly who are homebound and or bed-bound with personal management such as bathing, nail care, dressing, grooming as well as other services such as laundry or cooking.
‘Whilst the elderly are being cared for, no one is providing care for the Muthande Clermont Caregivers to ensure their physical and mental health is strong,’ said Nkosi.
She said the ratio of caregivers to those being cared for is 7:223, ‘This places large caregiving demands on the caregivers. Consequently, they are burdened with physical and mental strain. As Occupational Therapists, we care for those being cared for including those providing the care,’ added Nkosi.