Mal Mallyon a Home Carer

Mal Mallyon is a devoted home carer to his wife Cheryl Ann Smith, who is 75 years old and lives with Alzheimer’s. Cheryl’s condition has worsened over the past two years; she is now predominantly non-verbal and dependent on Mal for her daily care needs.

In 2022, Mal had Cheryl assessed for a Home Care Package from My Aged Care. Cheryl was allocated a level 3 package, and deemed as having intermediate care needs. The funding was made available in August and Mal was able to look for support to relieve Mal of some of the responsibility as a carer. The carer now assists on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays for 5-6 hours per day. They feed Cheryl breakfast, take her for a walk around the block, and generally assist with her needs.

Caring for the non-verbal

Cheryl has a cracked vertebrae and kidney stones and, for many years, was heavily reliant on pain medications including Tramadol and Panadeine Forte. Cheryl is less dependent on pain medication due to her Alzheimer’s and inability to process pain signals.

While Cheryl previously took pain medication every morning, this stopped a few years ago.

“She didn’t know how to take them anymore. I don’t know whether the pain really was that bad or if it was a bit of a habit.”

As Cheryl is non-verbal, it’s difficult for Mal to determine when she is experiencing pain and where it might be coming from. This is a common challenge for all carers of non-verbal individuals.

“I can’t distinguish whether she’s got pain or where the pain might be, just by myself.”

Cheryl’s mother also had Alzheimer’s and Mal recalls a conversation with her Doctor where he said, “one of the worst things is that they can often have pain that they can’t describe.”

Greater peace of mind

Mal’s determination to find a solution led him to discover PainChek®. He found the app easy to use and now assesses Cheryl weekly to ensure she is comfortable and pain-free.

“The thing I think is the best is the video of the person’s face – the artificial intelligence part of it.” PainChek® uses the smartphone camera to analyse the person’s face using AI-driven facial analysis. It automatically records micro-facial muscle movements that are indicative of pain. “It’s quite brilliant because I don’t notice whether the lips are lifting or eyebrows are lifting, or whatever.”

PainChek® is a valuable tool for caregivers like Mal, who are looking for ways to ensure that their loved ones are comfortable and their pain is being managed effectively.

“That peace of mind is a big thing for me.”


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