Whether you are an independent caregiver or a care homeowner with in-house care, here are ten simple ways to improve the level of care for your clients, loved ones, or elderly parents.
- Improve Covid Safety
Risk from Covid increases with age, with the most elderly in our communities being the most at risk. Various medical conditions and chronic diseases can further increase this risk, making the elderly and infirmed the highest risk group there is for contracting and requiring hospitalization from Covid. Although the vaccination program is on the go, it will be important to keep the safety regimes that have been implemented during the Covid pandemic. Care homes, independent living, and elderly communities are places where it is vital to keep a regimented Covid safety regime.
This will entail deep cleaning on a regular basis, the wearing of masks by all visitors and staff, and a general increased awareness of hygiene, hand washing, and social distancing.
- Further Training and Development
All staff must be encouraged to engage in further training and development. In a great number of cases, the primary caregiver is not a trained nurse but has qualifications in care and healthcare. Staff must undertake further training to improve their level of care knowledge and keep abreast of current healthcare issues. There are a number of options available, and it will depend on the staff member as to what they should do. From short first aid upgrade courses to longer-term professional online bsn programs for non nurses there is a dearth of courses and training available that will go a long way to improving the level of care received by the elderly recipients. It will be important to do a training audit to determine what skills are held by the healthcare professionals and where there is a gap in skills that can be dealt with by the training.
- Manual Handling and Health and Safety
Understanding the various pieces of care equipment that will be essential for movement, bathing, and sleep safety of the elderly patient or resident is a key component of professional elderly care. All carers must be able to use the equipment safely, as well as being trained in manual handling, keeping them and those they care for safer. Don’t ignore this, as it oftentimes is referred to as basic training, but more old and elderly people suffer from serious falls and slips than any other age group.
- Use the available tech
Keep Zoom going, chats, pics, screen time. The manner in which those in care have been communicating with their loved ones and family have moved online, and this should be continued. As things open up and family is able to visit, it will be important to have continuity, and whilst the visits will occur, they should still be limited. All the other tech has also moved on, and there is now the possibility of linking all tech together. The Internet of medical things (IoMT) will allow all care tech devices to be linked to each other and provide a detailed remote monitoring system for elderly care. Exercise regimes, diets, medication taken, and vital signs can all be measured and recorded in one place.
- Integrate Care
Communication is key, and as the medical monitoring devices can be linked to each other, they will provide a centralized information system. Such a centralized system will allow all those that are involved in senior care to be as well informed as possible. Thus, the care provided must be linked to the overall health and wellbeing of the care home resident or your elderly parents. The carer must be aware of the elderly patient or client’s overall health and who is responsible for the specific health care and well-being issue should one arise. Again, this will be possible using the available technology and storing medical records in the cloud on a centralized system.
- Include outdoor activity
Ensure that there is an element of outdoor activity included in the daily planning. Even for those who cannot easily get outside, provision should be made to allow them to sit for periods of time outdoors or with windows opened. Fresh air is a powerful cleanser for the lungs and airways. Activities such as gardening, walking, and birdwatching are just a few of the many ideas out there for the elderly to spend quality time outdoors.
- Organize their space accordingly
Some elderly people may require their space to be reorganized according to their specific healthcare needs. Wheelchair access, support railings, all this must be planned and considered before it is actually needed. Memory loss is one of the major afflictions of the elderly in care, and as such, it may be necessary to label items in their room to assist them in their day-to-day routines. Reorganizing a room or space can be a difficult process for the patient or person in care; make sure that it is done in a series of moves and changes, rather than changing the room set up all in one go.
- Coordinate and communicate family visits
If known, family visits should be communicated well in advance for those being cared for. It is an event to look forward to, and just as most; they would like to be forewarned. It is a wonderful way to include the seniors by adding dates such as these to a calendar and keeping them informed and positive about the future.
- Manage their diet and fluid intake
A healthy diet and sufficient water intake are essential components of a good healthcare plan. It is often neglected as seniors choose to eat less and generally have their required nutrient intake monitored. Make senior diets fun and again allow for those in the care setting to choose meals and get involved in the menu planning process.
- Plan ahead and plan inclusively
Aging is a normal part of life. As people age, it may become necessary to make plans for them, such as hospital visits, family visits, and outings in a group setting or community living. It is still important to involve the person in the daily planning, no matter how formulaic the days are. This has proven motivation properties and gives purpose.
These are ten ways that you can improve the care you provide. They are a long-term sustainable set of tips, yet implementing just one of these is also likely to improve the care of the elderly or infirm.