Essential advice for planning to provide healthcare at home

Making the decision to provide healthcare for a relative at home is not an insubstantial one. There often is no-one in a position to give basic advice on the day to day issues, or point out things that need to be taken into consideration. Here are some points and strategies that may be helpful.

Help yourself
If possible, try to learn some of the practical skills you will need to cope with day to day tasks and issues. Make sure that you are aware of what help and support is available in the community for both the patient and yourself. It may be easy, initially, to cope with the additional strains the change of circumstances will have on yourself and the patient, but over time, these can become even more stressful and ultimately affect your overall health.

It is important to make sure that you know as much as there is to know about your relative’s condition, whether it is an illness or a disability; ask for information from all the health professionals involved in their care. Be aware of the restrictions that may apply to the level of care you are able to provide and how the condition will limit the patient’s functions and activities. Get advice from physiotherapists and occupational therapists involved in the patient’s care about what changes will need to be made to the home in order to accommodate the patient and make it easier to provide the necessary care. Don’t forget to ask about the medical equipment you will need for the patient.

Handy tips
Here are some tips that may make the situation easier for both you and your relative day to day:

No doubt you will have a list of tasks and procedures to carry out each  day. Make these less daunting by breaking them up into more manageable groups that are easier to deal with.

Get to know your case manager or co-ordinator, if you have been appointed one, as it will help you to plan and co-ordinate all the different services that may be involved in the care programme.

Where possible, invite your relative’s friends and family to visit on a regular basis. These visits will help your relative to keep in touch with what is going on outside of the house and with their social group. These visitors may be able to help with some of the daily tasks as well as alleviating boredom and providing stimulation by talking, reading or playing board games, depending on the patient’s level of dependence.

Find out about respite care opportunities and make use of them. Respite care will be beneficial for both of you.

Being the main care giver is a great responsibility; ensure that you take care of your own health as well. You will not be able to provide the care you wish to provide and the patient/relative needs if you are not fit and healthy, physically or mentally.

Gertrude Long writes regularly on medical issues and health related topics for a range of medical and health and wellbeing websites and blogs. Use the internet to research the condition and what aids may or may not be readily available and useful to you; to know more visit this website.

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