If you care for your elderly loved one at home, you will need to plan a workable daily routine to implement his or her care. There is no one nursing care routine that will meet the needs of all elderly individuals living at home. Each nursing care routine will be different, based on the individual needs of your loved one.
The most important factor to keep in mind when designing a nursing care routine for a loved one at home is her medical needs. If the doctor says that your loved one needs to be turned in the bed every four hours to avoid sores, then the nursing routine must allow for her to be turned every four hours. Likewise, if the doctor says that she needs medication every six hours, the nursing routine must allow for her to receive medication every six hours.
The second most important factor to keep in mind when designing a nursing care routine is physical needs. The physical needs you will need to accommodate vary depending on how many activities of daily living the elderly individual can accomplish on her own. An effective nursing care routine may need to accommodate physical needs such as bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, transferring (from bed to wheelchair and back), and toileting.
If your loved one is cared for at home, you may also have to meet (or arrange to have met) the following needs: transportation to and from medical appointments and other events, financial planning assistance, and social needs.
The final factor to keep in mind when designing a nursing care routine is that there are programs that can assist you in your task. You can and should use these programs whenever possible. There are many home health care agencies that can provide your loved one with services from housekeeping to nursing. If your relative is eligible, Medicare or Medicaid will pay for some (or all) of these services. If your loved one is terminally ill, you may be able to apply for hospice care which can provide home health care aides, nurses, and even doctors who will come to your home.
Once you have established your nursing routine, the following suggestions will make it easier to follow:
- Write the plan down. This will make it easier for you to follow consistently, and give you a point of reference to discuss with your loved one's doctors.
- Document how you followed the plan. An easy way to do this is to make photocopies of the plan and date each one. Check each item off of the plan as you do it. You can also document how much your loved one ate, bowel problems, and other changes in her condition. These items can later be discussed with her doctor.
- Adjust the plan as needs change. Make a point to discuss your loved one's care with her doctor regularly. As her needs change, be sure to change her care plan accordingly.
- Keep medical records in a safe place. Many nursing facilities keep patient records in binders. You can do the same. Having the history of your loved one's care can help in discussions with medical professionals.
- Schedule a break for yourself. Even if you don't have help in on a regular basis, it is important to keep your strength up. Respite care is often available at nursing facilities or in the home.
Remember, providing home care for your loved one can be tiring and time-consuming work. It is important to make sure that your own needs are met by getting adequate rest and eating properly. Don't be afraid to ask about getting help if you need it, and don't forget how helpful it can be to have the proper education and training - even a few online nursing courses can make you much more confident and able when providing care.