It’s easy to think about providing care as “only” offering direct medical and nursing services, such as taking vital signs and asking how they are doing whenever you come to visit.
In the home health world, however, caregivers can take all sorts of valuable forms, far beyond basic care and general support. They can create a bond with a client, talk to them when they’re feeling low, check with their mental and emotional health and just be there for them.
The team at Accredited Home Care looks for this approach in the people it hires. Though having certain skills and required levels of experience and training for certain positions is important, we also like to see that everyone on our staff in skilled and non-skilled positions is always eager to focus on a client’s overall well-being.
This includes making sure clients are comfortable in their environment. This can include opening windows and doors on nice days – provided the client is comfortable with this – which can let sunlight in and air circulate.
On days when it’s too hot, we can also make sure their air conditioning works or at least any fans. Though our skills don’t always extend into mechanical fixes we can at least encourage a client or their family to find someone to help with these repairs. The same would be true when it gets cold and we want to make sure that their heating system works as well as it should.
It’s also important to offer other comforts, even just a lap blanket or maybe even close the curtains if it’s getting too warm during part of the day.
We also can provide other services, depending on what a client wants or needs.
For instance, our aides are happy to offer assistance with tasks like light housework, errands, meal preparation, transportation, and more.
Little things like a house that’s straightened up a little, such as a vacuumed or swept floor can go a long way to helping a client’s quality of life, especially if they’re unable to take care of these details themselves due to health conditions or mobility problems. The same with things like clean dishes. Even though these aren’t technically medical procedures, they can help a client’s peace of mind, which is important.
Safety is vital
One of these areas where we like to help is making sure a client is safe in their area.
We can provide access to occupational therapists who can offer insight into a client’s living space to see if there are potential safety hazards or ways to make it generally safer. This is vital, especially if someone lives alone and prizes their independence.
After all, many clients and their families have likely considered moving to an assisted living community that offers higher levels of security and safety. But they’ve decided to go to the home health route as long as possible.
In some situations, family members may live there but in others, it could be the client by themselves. In either case, it’s important that they feel as comfortable as possible with safety offerings.
Some of the details that our team can discuss are how to make the physical environment safer, which sometimes comes down to education.
For instance, many people think the kitchen can be dangerous. It makes sense – there are plenty of ways to hurt yourself, from sharp knives to hot appliances and surfaces. Plus, there are often hard counters and surfaces where you could lose your balance and fall.
It’s true that there are plenty of hazards present in the kitchen. But it’s not actually the most dangerous room in the home: that honor goes the bathroom. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bathrooms include all sorts of hard surfaces, from floors to counters to toilets.
Plus, bathrooms often get slippery with water on the floor, adding to the hazards. And getting in and out of a shower or tub requires all sorts of coordination that could be challenging with people with mobility challenges.
What we can do is offer suggestions to make this room safer, which can be as simple as putting bars in the shower or tub to help people in and out easier. A shower chair and a detachable showerhead can let someone sit down while bathing, another way to improve safety.
Our team can also suggest other ways to improve overall safety. For instance, while area rugs might be useful in the bathroom to catch water, they might not be as useful in a hallway where they can be a tripping hazard or make it difficult to walk with a cane or walker.
While it’s important to look for ways to improve your health and reduce hazards anytime, the month of June has been dedicated to doing more of this. National Safety Month encourages everyone to take steps to improve their lives and the lives of others.
This includes on the road, at home, emergency preparedness, fall prevention, and overall wellness. Everyone can benefit from learning how to prevent falls or limit damage from them, but seniors not only have a higher risk of losing their balance than other ages, a fall can do more serious damage to them. They could take longer to heal or it could require them to relocate to a place where they can receive more care.