There are certain realities that we need to face in life. As much as we’d like to think otherwise, the fact is that as we get older, we’re going to be less independent than we used — or would like — to be. When that time comes, we’re going to need a little bit of additional help from others in order to live our life to the fullest. While some people are resistant to this idea, it’s important to have a more open mind about the benefits that it can bring. It’s also important to note that, in this day and age, a person has a lot of control over the type of care and treatment that they get. This happens by creating a home care plan that is tailored to the patient’s individual needs; we know that there is no “one size fits all” approach. It all comes down to the patient.
If you’re a patient yourself, or the child of a parent who you think may soon need home care, take a read below. There we take a look at the various aspects that go into developing a home care plan for an elderly patient. By the end, you — or your parent — should feel much more open to the idea of receiving home care, especially after seeing how much individual care goes into the plan.
The Condition of the Patient
It all begins by establishing a clear idea of the patient’s condition. This will involve evaluating their physical and cognitive status, as well as any illnesses or injuries that they may be carrying. This will be the first step into determining how much care — and what type of care — they will need in their home. It may involve drawing together various different illnesses and opinions from healthcare professionals in order to figure out the path towards the best possible private care.
Ability to Manage Day
Life can be pretty tough when you’re older. All the things you used to be able to do without even thinking can gradually become more and more difficult, to the point where you’re no longer able to do them without assistance. If you’re the child of a parent who is finding it increasingly difficult to meet the needs of everyday living, be it cooking or washing and the other essentials of life, then you’ll want to ensure that any domiciliary care stresses the importance of these factors. When it comes to living life to the fullest, it’s important that the basics of life are met.
Sometimes, it’s not so much illnesses and health conditions that elderly people suffer from, but an all-around reduced level of mobility. This can make life extremely difficult, because even the most simple of tasks — like, say, walking to the kitchen — can become problematic due to pain and the amount of time it can take. During the development of the home care plan, the patient’s use of a cane, walker, or wheelchair will be factored into considerations. In some cases the patient won’t have mobility issues severe enough to merit the use of equipment, but it may still be an issue. In any case, the patient’s level of mobility will be determined and graded. It may just be something that needs to be monitored rather than handled immediately.
The Medication and Routine
The professional who will be providing your parent with personal care is there as a supplement to health, not the driving force behind it. If they’re in need of home care, then it’s likely they’ll have multiple types of medication that they need to take daily, usually at specific times. During the plan to offer home and respite care, it’ll be important that any and all medications that they take — as well as when they need to be taken — are understand. Even if the medication doesn’t need to be taken at a specific point during the day, the patient may have their own preferences, and this should also be communicated. Part of the idea of in-home care is that it allows your parent to carry on living with as little disruption as possible.
Day to Day Nursing Care
There may be other medical matters that you currently need to attend to, which will also fall under the rubric of the professional who’s going to be caring for the patient. For example, does your parent need to have wound dressings changed? This is the kind of everyday nursing care that is included in home care packages. As well as changing any dressings, it may also be necessary to manage and use any home medical equipment that the patient uses. It’ll be of utmost importance that any medical equipment that’s used in the home is fully explained during the development of the plan, including what it is, where it’s stored, what it’s used for, and how to use it.
Managing the Body
Aches and pains are a part of growing older; it’s not always possible to make it through life with a series of niggling pains. However, sometimes these small pains become more problematic, and need to be actively managed. If the patient has been told that they need to do therapeutic exercises in order to improve, or just managed, an injury, then this should also be included in the home care plan. The professional who ultimately ends up working with — and providing care for — your parent will make it part of their job to help them along their journey to recovery.
The Family Set
Sometimes, senior care is requested as a way to offer respite care for caregivers, who are usually family members. At other times, the professional will be the sole caregiver. During the plan that’ll determine the ins and outs of the care given to the patient, it’ll need to be clarified just how many people are involved in the caregiving process. The needs and scheduling of the professional caregiver will be different depending on how many people are involved. Additionally, if there are multiple parties with a vested interest in the development of the care plan, then there’ll need to be steps taken to ensure that everyone is an agreement and on the same page. The professional will become more like a part of a bigger team rather than simply an outsider who visits from time to time.
Any Behavioral Issues
While we’d like to think that our parents would be on board with ensuring they get all the help they need, the truth is that it doesn’t always work that way. Every human is complicated, and your parent will be too — and this can lead to some behavioral issues that will need to be actively managed by the professional. For instance, they might resent that there are outsiders coming into their home, and lash out or show other aggressive attitudes. There are steps that the professional — and you — can take to limit these instances, but it may be a case of simply managing the issues in the moment and waiting for any resentments regarding needing care to slowly ebb away, as they generally do over time.
Of course, it’s also possible that there are other behavioral issues, too. It might be that the parent has long-standing instances of issues relating to anger, depression, or other mental health conditions. In these cases, it’s less about dealing with new issues that have been prompted by the arrival of the professional, and more about building the conditions into the home care plan. It’ll be a matter of keeping an eye on any symptoms of the condition (such as the signs of depression), and working towards overcoming them. In some cases, the issues related to behavior might be related to other things, such as dementia. As such, the plan will be developed with dementia care in mind.
The primary advantage of in-home care is that is, well, provided in the home. It allows the patient to stay in surroundings where they feel most comfortable, which is something that has been connected in studies to faster recovery times and overall happiness. However, while this is the primary purpose of the care, it also presents its own challenges. One of the advantages of receiving care in a healthcare facility is that it has been established with healthcare in mind — the patient simply slips into an environment that has all the necessary equipment, the professionals know where everything is, and so on. In a patient’s home, things are different. This is a place that has been designed with a person’s comfort — and the daily acts of living, like cooking — in mind. As part of the plan, there’ll need to be discussions about the general condition and layout of the property, and any obstacles that it might provide. Any safety issues for the patient or caregiver should also be clearly outlined.
Part of the home care will involve providing the patient with meals. As such, it’s hugely important that any dietary or nutritional needs are clearly outlined during the development plan for home care. If they’re not, then there could be long-standing issues that arise from the omission of information. A good place to start when the plan is being developed is to take a look at what your parent currently eats; it’s possible that they have more or less the same food for each meal, and possibly take supplements for nutrients that they can’t naturally get from their foods. Additionally, you’ll want to share what the patient likes and dislikes, food wise. It’s one of the simpler pieces of information, but it could make a big difference to the overall enjoyment.
What the Patient Likes
And talking of what your parent likes, let’s take a moment to remember that the caregiver isn’t just there to make sure that they’re staying healthy; they’re there to give the patient the best possible life, and part of that will involve doing the things that he or she likes. As such, as part of the care plan, it’s important that some of the activities that the patient enjoys is included. This could be something as simple as their favorite television show, or their favorite board game. An in-home care professional will try to make your parent’s life as fun and enjoyable as possible. It doesn’t all have to be serious. By including these activities in the plan, it’ll save a lot of time (the information may come out over time, but it’s better to have it up front).
Who Will Provide Care?
During the process that comes before your parent will receive in-home care, there will come a point when it’s determined who will be providing care. At this stage, it’s less about developing a plan that’ll put all the pieces in place for an excellent quality of care, and more about figuring out who’s going to be reasonable for executing the plan. Your parent is one of the most important people in your life, and it’s imperative for your state of mind, that you know their well being in the hands of someone you can trust. It’ll be about finding the best possible candidate for the role, and making sure that the chances of success, which involves the probability of developing a positive relationship with the parent, is high.
How Often Will They Come?
As well as figuring out who will be visiting your parents home to deliver care, you’ll also need to figure out how often they will be coming. This is going to depend on multiple factors, including the budget, the needs of the patient, how many people are involved in the caregiving process, and so on. For example, a patient who has multiple sons and daughters chipping in to provide help will require less help than a patient who only has one child helping them out. No matter how many people are involved, it’ll need to be determined when they’ll be coming and for how long, so that they don’t overlap with other caregivers.
What Falls Under the Provider’s Care
The role of the caregiver can be wide-ranging, but it won’t automatically be that way. There’ll be some services that either aren’t required or are already handled by someone else. During the development of the home care plan, you’ll need to discuss the responsibilities for the caregiver. It’s much better to break the actions down into detail rather than to let it get figured out along the way, especially since this is how complications can arise. It’s always better to have clear information and communication at every step of the way.
What Does the Patient Want?
At all stages during the development, it’s imperative that you’re keeping the wants of the patient in mind. While it can feel like you, the child, knows what’s best for your parent, you’re not the one who’s at the center of the conversation here — it’s all about what’s best for the patient. So make sure they’re involved as much as possible. It’s much easier to move forward with home care if the person whose happiness is most fundamental to the success of the home care is on board with the plan.
What Do You Want?
However, while your parent’s needs should come first, always, there is room to ask what you already need. If you’re a caregiver for your patient, then part of the appeal of bringing outsider help in might have been to give yourself a break. It can take a lot of physical and emotional effort to look after a parent, and it’s important that you’re getting a break. You’ll only face burnout otherwise. As such, matters related to, say, how often the caregiver will come to your house should also have your input, because they will be opportunities for you to rest and take a break.
Discussing It With the Provider
While you’ll be in charge for most of the decisions relating to the type and frequency of the care that the patient receives, it’s also recommended that you discuss the needs with the care provider, for one simple reason: they will have a lot of experience in delivering care, and will be able to provide much useful information about the best way to proceed. They will have the best interests of your parent at heart, too. You won’t be obliged to follow their recommendations, but they may be a useful sounding board while you’re trying to figure things out.
It can be a little bit of work and effort trying to develop the perfect home care plan a loved one, but it’s important to remember that no matter what obstacles you come up against, there will be ways to overcome them. The provider will work with you to make sure that you and the patient are happy with the level of care that will be provided. No matter what stands in your way, it’ll be possible to move past them, and make sure that your parent receives the care that’ll have them at the brilliant best.