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Signs that Patients May Need Homecare and Tips for Approaching Them

Sep 17, 2018 09:31PM ● By MED Magazine

Visiting with parents, grandparents and other elderly people can sometimes leave us at a crossroads.

For instance, mom or dad might not be in the same health condition as the last visit, whether in a physical or mental capacity. Considering whether a patient needs homecare can be mentally taxing and emotionally draining for the family, who must take a wide range of factors into account.

While some of the following warning signs might be common sense, considering and weighing each one is an important step towards making a potentially difficult decision.

  • Whenever a loved one poses a threat to his or her own well-being, seek immediate care options.

  • A recent hospital discharge can make it difficult for a loved one to undertake his or her usual daily routine.

  • Physical limitations in general can hinder daily activities.

  • Loved ones of any age might be in need of homecare if they are undergoing rehabilitation.

  • Memory lapses can impede daily functions and can even put loved ones in danger.

  • If loved ones are having trouble preparing their own meals, homecare should be considered.

  • Loved ones that cannot maintain their lifestyles independently might be in need of assistance.

  • If a loved one cannot make it through the night unattended, caregiver assistance is necessary.

  • Loved ones that overburden your personal schedule are most likely in need of full-time care.

  • When you’ve exhausted your own caregiving efforts, it might be time to seek a professional caregiver.

Once these warning signs have been taken into consideration, the next step can be even more difficult.

Approaching a loved one about the possibility of homecare can be a touchy subject, wrought with emotion that forces patients to confront their own age-related shortcomings. Families and providers need to broach the subject with sensitivity and care. Patients should feel that their opinions are being considered if their mental capabilities are up to the task.

Below are a few tips that can help families discuss the option of homecare with a loved one:

  • Focus on the patient during discussions and keep him or her involved.

  • Voice opinions using “I” statements.

  • Define a clear topic for each discussion.

  • Be assertive but respectful.

  • Keep in mind that it may take some time and multiple conversations to come to a consensus.

  • Don’t blame others or use “You” statements.

  • Don’t try to accomplish too much in one discussion.

Suggested Methods for Dealing with Resistance

  • Demonstrate why you believe your loved one’s health or safety is at risk, then push the discussion forward.

  • Involve others, like clergy, physicians or a geriatric care manager, so loved ones can have a second, less biased opinion.

  • Use community resources like “Meals on Wheels” or a free consultation with a home care agency to help your loved one ease into the homecare process.