Providing in-home health care to someone, especially a loved one can be a stressful and challenging experience. Preparing ahead and considering these fifteen tips can help to make the transition into in home care less stressful and easier on you and the individual requiring care.
- Impact on Person Needing Care – the individual needing care will need some time to adjust to the new arrangement. They may have recently lost a loved one or they may have had an injury or major medical event that has prompted the change. Any of these changes can cause stress, anxiety or even depression so it’s best to give that person some time to adjust.
- Impact on You – As you will be the one giving care, a significant amount of your time will be required. You will need to consider if this is something you are willing to do and how it will affect your job and family life.
- Impact on Your Family – It will be important for you to discuss your decision to provide in home care with your family. The decision will directly impact them and your way of life. Carefully consider everyone’s opinions and concerns prior to making a full commitment.
- Staying on Top of Appointments – Once you start providing in home care, you will need to stay on top of appointments that will need to be kept such as going to the doctor, physical therapy, etc.
- Questions to Ask the Doctor – The more care you provide, the more involved you will be with monitoring the daily activities of the individual. You will want to ask specific questions of the doctor if you notice any concerning behavior or changes to the health or mental state of the patient.
- Medicines – Along with providing in home care, you will need to keep track of any medications, when they need to be administered and any dangerous side effects or interactions with other drugs or specific foods.
- Meals – Providing regular and nutritious meals will be a major part of your responsibilities and it will have a major impact on the health of the person requiring care.
- Exercise/Physical Therapy – Depending on the mobility of the patient, you may need to ensure that they participate in some type of physical activity to keep them mobile. This may also involve bringing them to the gym or to physical therapy appointments.
- Keeping Minds Active – If the patient is limited in activity or confined in any way, it may be helpful to make sure they keep their mind active in addition to their body. This can be done by providing them with reading materials, thought-provoking games or puzzles.
- Eliminating Dangers in the Home – Keeping pathways clear and removing clutter in the home can help to prevent any accidents or injuries to the patient.
- Making Adjustments to the Home – Consider if your home may require adjustments such as ramps, railings, stair lifts or larger access points into and out of the home. You may also need to make changes to furniture and fixtures such as chairs, beds, or bathtubs.
- Additional Cost for Caring – The cost of providing in home care can be significant. You will want to consider if you need to reduce hours at work or stop working altogether in addition to the cost of additional food, transportation and potential renovations to your home.
- Liability Insurance – While most people provide in home care to a loved one, you may want to consider adjusting any liability insurance on your home. Any additions you make to your home may require additional coverage.
- Taking Care of Yourself – One thing that most caregivers neglect while they are providing care is themselves. Make sure you are eating right, getting enough sleep, and getting a break from time to time as care giving can be a demanding task even if you are helping a family member or loved one.
- Know When to Admit You Need Help – At some point, providing in home care may become so overwhelming or even impossible that you may need to consider getting additional help or stopping in home care altogether. Having an idea of what your options are under these circumstances will help to ease the transition especially if something changes with the patient unexpectedly.
By taking these tips into account, you can avoid any potential problems or conflicts as you transition into providing in home care.
About The Author
Catherine Reeson is certified medical assistant, and has worked in various caregiver roles for several years. She aims to write about topics that will help beginner caregivers avoid some of the hurdles she’s faced in her tenure.