When a family member is chronically or terminally ill, emotions will run high, increasing everyone’s stress levels. There is so much uncertainty surrounding their illness, and some may even start to feel hopeless.
However, there is an expression of love that would make their lives more bearable—home-based primary care. Facilities equip themselves to handle every medical emergency that comes their way, but there may be a lack of compassion for the patient. The unconditional love that a family can provide at home changes everything.
There are a few things that caregivers should get ready for before taking care of the patient, and they should prepare themselves for the serious commitment that comes with home-based primary care. Here are some tips that may provide more insight to succeed:
- Set Up A Schedule
A solid routine would assist with adequately planning the patient’s care and scheduling their other responsibilities around this routine. Setting out a specific time of day to complete tasks would ensure that everyone meets their goals for the day.
Patients who don’t have to worry about what will happen next tend to be less anxious. It is also an excellent reason to organize alternative primary care options to improve patients’ mental wellbeing.
Remember to add treatments and appointments to the schedule to avoid missing them. Regular visits from a nurse, doctor, or other healthcare professionals could be part of the weekly routine for home care patients.
- Keep Dietary Needs In Mind
Patients who need at-home care would most likely have special dietary needs that their caretakers would have to consider. Some patients would follow a liquid diet, intravenous feeding, have feeding tubes, or require a soft diet.
Dieticians would be able to advise on the various types of diet plans, and caretakers would need to make the necessary adjustments to their cooking methods.
- Record Vital Information
Record-keeping is an essential aspect of caring for another person, especially with special needs and considerations. The vital information would include eating habits, fluid intake, the amount of fluid gathered in the catheter bag, treatments, and medications given.
Having a log of the important happenings throughout the day would give doctors and other medical staff a clear picture of the patient’s health by presenting the records.
- Closely Monitor Medication Use
Caretakers would have to give medication at specific intervals during a 24-hour cycle. They should take extra care to provide the correct dose each day. Some patients may have many different medications, and keeping track of them may be challenging.
The best solutions could include setting the alarm with the medication name displayed on the screen or having pill dispensers with the days and times printed. It would be advisable that one person is made responsible for dealing with the medication to prevent confusion and accidental overdoses.
- Ensure That The Patient Is Comfortable
The patient’s illness may already be uncomfortable enough with aches, pains, and other irritations. Ensure that the bed is soft and comfortably holds the person in place. Sleeping well is another crucial factor for keeping a patient content and healthy.
- Add Physical Activity To Their Day
Muscles can quickly start to waste away if the patient doesn’t use them. There are easy passive exercises that a physiotherapist can put together in a routine for the patient. Physical activity would help keep other body systems like the heart, lungs, and brain healthier by providing more oxygen-rich blood to the essential structures.
Another benefit of adding movement would be that the patient is less likely to develop bedsores. These chronic pressure-induced sores are very difficult to manage, and the best cure is prevention.
- Basic Hygiene And Appearance
Some bedridden people may not be able to take care of their own hygiene needs. It means that caregivers will have to step up and take over these responsibilities. Think of your hygiene routines like brushing your teeth and hair, washing your face, bathing, and any other needs that the patient may also have.
- Keep The Room Sanitary
Patients who need specialized care would often have a lowered immune system, and getting an infection may be fatal to them. Anyone visiting or caring for the patient should wash their hands before entering the room and clean all the equipment and furniture with a sanitizing liquid a few times per week.
- Make The Home A Safe Place
Safety measures should be in place to keep the patient safe. Start with railings on the bedsides to prevent them from rolling off or falling. Keep all their medications safely stored away from children or patients as they may be confused and take some themselves.
- Display Personal Information
Keeping the patient’s details like their name, age, diagnosis, and special instructions for care should be where it would be easy to find in the case of an emergency. Caregivers can add their contact details to these so emergency services can get hold of them should anything happen.
- Look After Their Mental Wellbeing
Being cooped up in their bed for extended periods may take a toll on the patient’s mental health. They need to interact with others around them and feel part of the family even though they are ill. If the caregiver notices a decline in their mental state, they should consult with the primary physician for a referral to a mental health professional.
- Respect Cultural And Spiritual Beliefs
Each person has their own cultural, spiritual, or religious beliefs. Caretakers should be mindful of the patient’s personal preferences and respect their wishes in this regard. Some cultures and religions have specific customs, diets, and other considerations that need to be cared for with the patient’s physical health in mind.
Caring for a patient at home may seem overwhelming and emotionally draining, but following these tips could relieve some of these feelings. Patients have the exact basic needs as any other person, with a few added responsibilities to take care of depending on their medical needs. The first and most important aspect of caring for someone at home is giving them the love they deserve.