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The Nurturing Women

Posted on August 7, 2021 | No Comments on The Nurturing Women

Traditionally, Filipinas have been bound to stay home to care for the young, elderly and sick members of the family. Known for being warm, hospitable and affectionate, many women have thus been limited to household activities while men provided the basic needs of the family. Over the years, the societal role of women started to change. Currently, women play a significant role in the labor force. In fact, they are given the equal opportunity to seek livelihood for their kin.

Noticeably, the caregiver industry has become one of the preferred jobs of women during the past few years. Based on the labor market intelligence report of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), 97 percent of nearly 19,000 caregivers deployed in 2003, were women (most of whom were sent to Taiwan, Canada and Israel). According to Dr. Carlo S. Ynion, president of Center for Healthcare Professions (CHP), a caregiver school in San Pedro, Laguna, “The most common reason of women who study caregiver course is the intention of actually working abroad in the future.” They want to help their families become financially stable considering that most of the caregivers come from the class B and C, he explains. Nevertheless, he clarified that it is not always the case. He notes that others just want to experience the healthcare profession and eventually care for the sick members of their family.

Caring for diabetics

Diabetes is considered a global epidemic. With its increasing prevalence every year, caregiver schools have allotted particular hours of training for the students to understand the condition better. Dr. Ynion says that some caregiver schools provide particular modules in elderly care that tackles the basics about diabetes. The common signs and symptoms of the disease are discussed so the students will know what to watch out for if the patient is diabetic. Students also attend first aid sessions with the Philippine National Red Cross which is very important because most diabetic patients are prone to emergency situations especially if the condition is not detected early.

According to Maricel Salandanan, a former caregiver student, also included in their training is the proper meal preparation for the diabetic patients. “We were taught to give insulin shots and monitor the patient’s blood sugar,” she furthers. Maricel admits that the knowledge she learned during the six-month training has really helped her especially now that she attends to a diabetic patient. “Every morning I check his blood sugar level. If it exceeds 7mmol/L, then I give him insulin shots.” Likewise, she prepares the medicines, monitors the vital signs, personally grooms the patient and determines the right forms of exercise suited for his condition. “Proper feet and nail care is important for my diabetic patient because his wound heals slowly,” she adds.

On a personal level
Maureenlie Catipon, also a caregiver graduate explains that they do not only provide quality healthcare for the diabetics. “We were also taught how to properly deal with diabetic patients considering that some of them experience emotional problems because of their condition.” According to her, since most Filipino women can provide fine companionship because they are family-oriented, caring and sincere by nature, it is easier for them to establish good relationship with the patients. She also believes that keeping the communication line open between the caregiver and their diabetic patient will help them to ease their burden.

Sometimes patients tend to become irritable. “So it is our role as caregivers to provide recreational activities which are enjoyable for them.” Although she admits that nurses and doctors play a crucial role in the management of the disease, caregivers make diabetic patients’ lives more meaningful. “As a caregiver, I want my patient to be comfortable with my company. I want to make them feel special despite their condition.”

Sociological view
It is common for diabetic patients to experience depression which make it hard for them to show their emotions. “But because women caregivers have the natural ability to be sympathetic, they can make the gap between diabetic patients (and their families) closer,” explains Prof. Gerry Marcelo of the Social Science faculty at the Far Eastern University. He says that it is easier for women to be an effective companion because they have the better ability to establish relationship with diabetic patients since it is commonly thought of in our culture that women are more expressive and emotional. “Women caregivers are more open when it comes to their feelings and experiences.” Most of the time, women can provide better conversation and they are also good listeners, but it is not an absolute term (since some men have the same ability as women), he adds.

Generally, diabetic patients suffer from some complications related with their condition. “And because women have several qualities suited to provide `better’ healthcare services, it is much easier for the patients to express what they feel because of the so-called gender barriers,” said Prof. Marcelo. They can offer suggestions on what the patients can do to cope with their condition in a requesting manner rather than sounding authoritative, he adds. According to Prof. Marcelo, it is not only crucial for women caregivers to have sufficient knowledge in providing proper healthcare for diabetic patients. “Similarly they have to know the cultural orientation of the patients since majority of the caregivers will work abroad.” It is crucial for caregivers to understand their cultural differences with the patients.

Aside from giving patients the right medication, caregivers also need to create a serene atmosphere which can influence diabetic patients to have proper disposition in life. “In that sense, it would be less difficult for them to deal with their condition.” Women caregivers play a crucial role among diabetic patients. With the sufficient knowledge on quality healthcare and behavioral orientation, caregivers not only help prolong lives but also make patients’ lives consequential.

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