ADL’s, or activities of daily living, are the everyday activities everyone completes to get through the day. In addition to cleaning and cooking, ADL’s include self-care, toileting, dressing, and a number of little things that most of us take for granted. Anyone who has been caring for a loved one understands how many “little things” go into ADL’s, and when help comes for daily activities, it is a relief to everyone involved. However, what exactly happens when a professional enters the home for ADL assistance?
Skilled Nursing Care
Skilled nurses who enter the home will help manage pain. They will make sure the client is taking medications properly and they will recommend further professional care when necessary. Nurses will check vitals, such as blood pressure, temperature, heart rate and breathing. The duration of the stay depends on the needs of the client; if more pain management or care is necessary the nurse will stay longer. Nurses also understand when it is time to call emergency services, and will do so if an emergency happens. As the nurse tracks vital signs, he or she will alert the primary doctor if there is a significant change over time. The nurse will also report vitals to the primary doctor. If nurses find something askew, he or she will contact the family’s emergency contact to alert the family to the situation. The nurse may also check on appointments and may assist in transportation to doctor’s appointments.
Unskilled care professionals will typically stay longer than skilled nursing care, depending on the agreed upon scope of services. Unskilled care includes light housekeeping, personal care, assistance with transportation to appointments, meal preparation, light medication assistance, and money management. The unskilled professional will make sure the loved one has washed, gotten dressed, brushed teeth, and is prepared for the day. Typically, the unskilled professional can make sure the loved one has taken medication, but he or she is not allowed to change medications without the approval of a nurse. Throughout the day, the professional may return to the home to help with transportation issues or grocery shopping. Light housekeeping duties include making beds, sweeping floors, cleaning dishes, and ensuring the home is generally clean.
Families are encouraged to be involved in the process of caring for a loved one. Questions are welcomed, and the professionals want to work with the families to keep the client as comfortable as possible in his or her own home. Continuous communication is essential; if the family would like to be present during visits, the professionals will accommodate. Family involvement is not only encouraged, it helps improve the client’s emotional well-being.
The Vancouver Home Health Care Agency can help families further understand the daily process of ADL assistance. We will work with you and your family doctor to devise a daily care plan to keep your loved one in the home as long as possible.
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