Brian’s story: unexpectedly becoming a carer


Published Dec 07 2023

Brian lives in Alfredton with his wife of almost 50 years, Mischelle.

He was thrust into the role of carer when Mischelle was unexpectedly hospitalised, then had to learn to walk again on her return home.

Carer Gateway’s services have helped him find his way through.

Brian has been Mischelle’s carer since March 2023, when she suffered a ruptured bowel and then medication-induced delirium. This led to a prolonged period in hospital followed by acute care at home, where Brian found himself in the role of carer.

“My wife spent 93 days in four different hospitals, becoming progressively unwell and eventually delirious,” says Brian.

Certain that something wasn’t quite right, Brian requested a second opinion.

“A geriatrician assessed her and found that the medication she was taking for Parkinson's was causing delirium. Once the medication was reduced the delirium gradually disappeared and she was allowed home with support from Hospital in the Home for two weeks.”

Brian has been with his wife every step of the way. His goal is for Mischelle to become more independent and for himself “to become saner!”

Mischelle’s prolonged illnesses and hospital stays and Brian's sudden and unexpected role as a carer eventually took a toll on him.

Brian was given some information about Carer Gateway by a hospital worker and says the services helped to get him back track.

“I was becoming very dejected and mentally impaired going home from hospital crying. When I rang Carer Gateway, the worker I was assigned to, Lisa, was very supportive.”

Brian wasn’t sure what he needed, or what kind of support services he might be able to receive from Carer Gateway. But together he and Lisa identified that he’d benefit from some online information and help sessions, mental health counselling and support to place his wife in a nursing home for a few weeks of respite care.

“I had a break away for three weeks – a trip to the Northern Territory. Lisa was able to pick me up from my shoestrings and get me back to some normality. Mischelle and I both recently attended a walking group, which was a great marker of how far we’ve come.”

“I very much appreciated the support I received from Carer Gateway and have already referred a friend whose husband is in the early stages of dementia. She is also very grateful for the referral and the assistance she is receiving.”