Saturday, November 24, 2007

So You've Decided on Home Care Help; Now What?

As discussed in previous posts, accepting a few hours of caregiving help can decrease the stress and burden of care. Once you make the decision, what can you do to prepare for regular caregiver help. Here are suggestions to help you prepare for home health care:

1. Make a list of clearly written emergency phone numbers: police, fire department, ambulance, physicians, dentist, and other health care providers, pharmacist, home and work number of grown children, number of a close neighbor.

2. Make a list of helpful phone numbers: the market, library, repairmen, clergymen, other relatives and grandchildren, friends.

3. Make a list of your loved one's likes and dislikes including food preferences, TV programs, hobbies/activities of interest, outings, and routines.

4. Make a list of all medications and the times they are to be taken. (Note: Home health aides do not administer medications. They can, however, remind patients when to take their medications.)

5. Make a list of what you would like accomplished on a daily basis, such as eating meals, bathing, changing clothes, an exercise regime, getting outdoors.

6. Put a baby monitor next to your loved one's bed or buy a telephone with an intercom so that he can easily call for help.

7. If your loved one needs help moving from bed to chair or to the bathroom, seek recommendations from the home care agency about the appropriate (if needed) equipment that will make home care easier -- electric bed, wheelchairs, walkers, bed rails.

8. Make sure the home health care giver has a place to put her belongings.

9. Make a list of reminders of certain "house rules" such as religious observances, and other concerns you or your parent might have. You can expect that caregivers will never smoke or drink alcohol in your home.

10. Encourage a good relationship between your loved one and the health care giver. Allow the care giver to express her own ways of doing things and her own needs.