There’s a reason flight attendants always include the line about “put on your oxygen mask first, then put one on your child” during their pre-flight safety briefings: parents aren’t going to be much help to anyone if they can’t breathe themselves.
Similar suggestions are also given to nurses and other health care professionals in the Anaheim area and elsewhere who are always asked to take care of themselves in order to be better able to help patients with their in-home care. Essentially, if you focus too much on other people’s health needs to the point of neglecting your own, it can make everything more challenging.
The team at Accredited Home Care knows that sometimes our health care staff isn’t always feeling 100 percent every single day. And that’s OK. But we do encourage the nurses who provide home health care to do what they can to try and stay healthy, and if they don’t feel up to the challenge any particular day or have a health condition that could affect clients with weakened immune systems, then they’re asked to stay away and recuperate until they’re well.
Nursing is often called a selfless profession because nurses and home health aides like doing everything they can to help their clients. But the ideal balance needs to be found between helping a client stay as healthy as possible and helping to make sure the nurse or aide also keeps themselves healthy.
This is the perfect time to learn further since January is considered National Staying Healthy Month, an opportunity to learn or reinforce healthy behaviors.
An LVN’s role
Trying to find this balance as a matter of practice can be a fun challenge for Licensed Vocational Nurses or LVNs.
They have already learned the basics of nursing and been certified to provide care at a certain level. Some of them may continue in school to earn their Registered Nurse credentials or beyond, but others prefer to be out in the field gaining practical experience by working with clients.
An LVN academic program is generally much shorter than the course for RN credentials. In many cases, training for an LVN can take place in about a year through a community college, but some students may take a little longer especially those who might already be working and aren’t able to attend school full-time.
RN programs, on the other hand, may take three to four years. RN programs often provide additional training such as being able to dispense medication or perform diagnostic activities.
But LVNs still have enough training to provide basic nursing and medical care to clients and make sure they are comfortable. They also may be asked to share their observations with a provider, supervising RN, therapists or other personnel to make sure quality care continues.
Many LVNs also like the freedom of being able to visit different clients throughout their week rather than being restricted to the same medical facility. This can be a great opportunity to provide attention to one client at a time rather than being assigned several at once. This can give a good perspective on how their health conditions are progressing changing or to decide if any changes are needed.
LVNs looking for ways to keep them and their clients healthy can consider several options. There may even be some ways these can be shared so both parties benefit. Check with their provider or therapist ahead of time to make sure there aren’t health concerns or certain risks.
- Health experts recommend at least 20 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days a week for optimal health. This could even consist of a walk or light cardio. If a client is able to walk well, maybe the LVN can accompany him or her on a walk through the neighborhood. Or if they have mobility challenges or don’t want to go outside, perhaps the LVN or a therapist can calculate how many ‘laps’ around the house can be done that would be an adequate form of exercise for everyone.
- Good hygiene. Even though it feels basic, it’s important that everyone washes their hands regularly, including before and after meals, after using the restroom and any procedures that could involve exposure to bacteria. If soap isn’t available then hand sanitizer can be handy. A portable bottle can be useful. Consider wiping down surfaces regularly with antibacterial wipes especially areas where many people may touch or food may contaminate, such as counters and tables. Areas like doorknobs or railings also can benefit from regular scrubbing.
- Healthy supplements. There is currently some debate as to the actual health benefits of various vitamins and minerals, so please check with a provider as to what could hurt or what could harm or perhaps conflict with other prescriptions. Vitamin C is recommended for energy, as well as Vitamin D. In some cases, regular multivitamins may suffice.
- Mental health break. Taking time to relax mentally might be beneficial to the client and nurse. This could include some simple yoga, tai chi or stretching or just sitting quietly.
Continue to read this blog for career opportunities for LVNs through Accredited Home Care.