No matter what kind of ailment your family member or close friend has, you probably want to make their recovery as fast and efficient as possible. Taking care of a sick person at home is a big responsibility, but it can be made easy and comfortable for all parties involved if you know how to provide proper care. Here are a few tips that will help you care for a sick loved one at home.
Talk with their healthcare provider and set primary goals. In some cases, your goal is to banish the disease and get the patient back on their feet, while on other cases, you just want to maintain their condition and prevent it from becoming worse. Once you have your goals, you can start thinking about the tasks you’ll need to perform.
Determine the tasks you need to perform
Some sick people only need help with cleaning and cooking, so you might be asked to do the laundry or go grocery shopping. Other patients might need help with medication, so your task would be to sort through pills and set medication reminders. In certain cases, you might be required to perform complex medical services like monitoring and servicing medical devices like infusion and various pumps or giving injections. Write down your tasks and stick to the schedule provided by a medical professional.
Make your home accessible
In order to make the patient feel safe and comfortable at home, you need to provide them with a safe way to navigate the space. You can make any space more accessible with ramps, grab bars, lifts and other features. Create a practical furniture layout and remove trip hazards so a person can walk freely with walkers or crutches. It’s also smart to invest in remote controls for things like heating and cooling, entertainment, lighting, doors and other things.
Think about your safety
You need to consider your safety as well, especially if the patient suffers from a contagious disease. Make sure to stock up on surgical masks but ensure they are made according to all health and safety standards. These face coverings protect from both airborne particles and liquids contaminating the face. Also, ensure that you’re not sharing any personal items with the sick person (use separate towels, bedding, electronics, cups and cutlery). If you need to share a room, practice social distancing and provide good airflow in the space.
Provide the patient with a good diet
A good diet is very important for a sick person, so if they are hungry, make sure to provide them with food. Most sicknesses don’t require dietary restrictions and special meals, so you can just make sure to prepare the food with plenty of nutrients, minerals and vitamins. If the patient is weak, provide them with several smaller nutritious meals throughout the day. Mashed foods, soups and juices are a great way to deliver food when a person is too weak to chew. When it comes to the menu, concentrate on energy foods like porridges, oatmeal, wheat and potatoes with some added oil or sugar to further boost the energy levels. Plenty of liquids is a must (water and sweetened tea are especially important).
Start a journal
To follow your patient’s progress, it’s best to start a journal where you can write down symptoms and vitals. Having a record of their vitals is very important for figuring out whether the person is getting better or not. Write down their temperature, pulse and breathing tempo (breaths per minute), but you can also weigh them.
Depending on the illness, you might be required to monitor the liquid intake and expenditure. When visiting a doctor, show them your records and follow further instructions. You might be asked to change something you’re doing or continue with the exact same care, depending on the patient’s results.
Seek professional help
If you need some help with the patient or just someone to fill the gaps in your efforts, you can seek professional assistance. Local providers might offer nurse services, some of which might be covered by insurance, so do your homework and see what professional help your loved one can receive.
Caring for your sick loved one is not an easy task, but it’s very rewarding. Spending time with your family always provides comfort, especially when you’re sick, so make sure to provide your loved one with care, patience and love until they recover.