Why Caregiver Support is Necessary After Colonoscopies, GI Procedures

November is National Family Caregivers Month, a time to recognize family members who help support loved ones. It also provides an opportunity for the aging and physically challenged to ask for caregiving help.

Why a Colonoscopy Requires a Caregiver

Even if you are in good health, you’ll need to ask for a caregiver for your colonoscopy. Most colonoscopy procedures include sedation or anesthesia to provide comfort and prevent pain. Sedation can make you groggy, uncoordinated and weak. It can feel similar to having too much alcohol because it impairs your ability to react quickly or even stay awake.

Doctors do not recommend patients drive, use power tools, sign legal documents, conduct business or make important decisions until at least one day after sedation. In fact, the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) revised their guidelines for monitored sedation to say pre-op assessment must include verification of a caregiver over 18 to drive the patient home.

In our busy society, it isn’t easy to ask for help, even from a family member. However, you should plan to ask a relative or loved one to come with you to your colonoscopy, remain in the facility and drive you home afterward.

Ambulatory Surgery Centers Can Help Coordinate a Caregiver

If you are not able to secure a caregiver for your procedure, you can call your ambulatory surgery center (ASC) to reschedule your appointment for a day that someone can accompany you. This is for your safety and wellbeing. In the instance that you do not have a relative or friend to assist you, call the surgery center and ask for a list of reliable transportation companies who can serve you.

Sometimes it takes courage and humility to request caregiving assistance but be bold and ask a family member or friend to accompany you. A colonoscopy is an essential part of preventative care, so allow your relative to give you the gift of time this month.

Call Your Gastroenterologist

The American Cancer Society recommends all adults who are at average risk for colon cancer begin screening at age 45. If you are at increased risk for colon cancer, you may need to get tested earlier, so talk to your gastroenterologist.