Providing home health care can be difficult and sometimes overwhelming for family caregivers. Below we will discuss the importance of care at home, home care assistance, and home care services available to you, as well as some tips and tricks that will make the role of providing care at home a little easier.
over 80% of Americans over the age of 50 say they’d prefer to receive care in their own home if needed.According to the AARP’s 2021 Home & Community Preferences Survey,
Put together a home care plan.
Creating a detailed care plan is the key to this critical responsibility of caring for a loved one at home. It is important to remember that you aren’t alone in this process. Ask friends and family to assist with picking up groceries, providing rides to doctor’s appointments, and visiting your loved one so you can get a break.
The Varco Hospice and Home Health team will also help by identifying resources available to you as a caregiver. Putting this plan in writing will ensure everyone involved in the care is on the same page.
Limited mobility and accessibility with home care
Limited mobility is often a central concern when a loved one requires care at home. Whether using a wheelchair, a walker or just having someone walk with them, it’s vital to ensure enough space for them to move around.
Ensuring space can mean moving furniture, clearing up some clutter, or relocating your loved one’s bedroom to a lower floor. Make sure pathways are clear, Install non-skid bath mats and consider adding grab bars in bathrooms and hallways. You may also need to learn how to turn a loved one, give a bed bath, and assist with toileting. If steps lead into your home, you may need to install a ramp. This ramp can be built or purchased as a ready-made ramp kit.
How Varco Hospice can provide home care services and home care assistance
As a primary caregiver providing home care services, you will be responsible for handling many medical and personal care tasks for your loved one. Make a list of all the medications your loved one is taking. This list must remain up-to-date with the names of the medicines, current dosages, and which doctor(s) prescribed them.
If your loved one is terminally ill, they may qualify for hospice care. Hospice care will provide an elite team of nurses, aides, social workers, chaplains, and volunteers who will provide home care assistance at zero cost to the patient or family. This home care assistance is often essential to continue quality care. Your hospice team can also provide medical equipment and supplies for care related to your loved one’s terminal diagnosis at no cost to you.
Make your loved one comfortable.
Caring for a loved one in your home or theirs requires a transitional period. This period is made smoother by making the room or rooms your loved one uses as comfortable as possible. Ensure your loved one has a nice view of the outdoors, and decorate the room with family photos and other personal items. Ensure that the room has the option for privacy by closing a door or curtain. These options allow for a sense of familiarity and comfort, which is essential now.
Family caregivers play an essential role in the care of their loved ones. The work of caring for a loved one is rewarding. Still, it can often be overwhelming as caregivers juggle hands-on care with keeping on top of appointments, medication, and financial documents. Taking the time to get organized can help make this a little easier.
How to Become an Organized Caregiver
For a home caregiver, getting organized can sound like a daunting task on top of everything else they need to juggle – but it is worth the initial effort upfront and can make the care more manageable long term. Investing in a few essential items can help keep everything together can be helpful. These include:
- An accordion folder
- A 3-ring binder
- A wall calendar
- A small notebook
Once you have these, you can start to put your caregiver organization plan in place.
Home-based care and organized paperwork
Gather all your loved one’s paperwork in one spot, including medical bills, progress reports, medication lists, physician contact information, insurance paperwork, advance directives, and contact information for critical financial accounts.
Create a label for each section in your accordion file and sort all the paperwork accordingly. If you have other important information related to your loved one, make an area for that and new paperwork as it comes in.
Keep copies of the most critical information
That accordion binder will come in handy, but it’s not something to drag from one appointment to the next. Instead, create a 3-ring binder with the essential paperwork, such as the most recent medication list with dosages, contact information for all your loved one’s healthcare providers, and copies of insurance cards.
Bring that 3-ring binder to every appointment, so you can quickly answer questions about care provided elsewhere and have all the information needed for your loved one’s home care.
The importance of notes at every visit and home
Visits to the doctor or hospital can be stressful. It’s easy to get confused or to forget a question you had at home. At the appointment, jot down weight and blood pressure readings and doctor instructions. If you don’t understand a term or instruction, ask them to explain further, but also jot it down to research it more at home. A small notebook can help you keep track of changes to your loved one’s condition and note questions for future visits.
If you want to make the most of your little notebook as an organized home health care giver, take time to note their symptoms, meals, and overall health daily. This information can help you spot trends and changes when providing care at home.
It’s so easy to put appointments on our phones, so why bother with a wall calendar? You may find it helpful to be a more organized home care giver to see all your weekly and monthly appointments in one place. It also serves as a backup if there are any technical challenges. More importantly, it allows your loved one to see their upcoming appointments and have a sense of independence and involvement in their own care.
A bulletin board that allows you to post a calendar and make notes on a whiteboard is a great way to enhance this by including things like today’s date and any important messages for the day.
Independence in home health care
When providing home care for your parent, they need to maintain a feeling of independence and inclusion in their care.
One way to help yourself and your loved one as an organized home health care giver is to take advantage of tools and equipment that allow them to participate in their care. These tools can include pill organizers, grabber tools to help them reach items they need, or a walker to help them get around. Maintaining this independence helps protect their dignity and takes some pressure off you as the caregiver.
Check with your local Area of Aging organization to see if additional caregiver support or home care services are available in your area. You may also find help with foundations related to your loved one’s illness, like the Alzheimer’s Association or American Heart Association. In addition to providing helpful information about your loved one’s condition, these groups often have support groups for patients and their loved ones.