Home health aide training expands beyond the actual schooling of Elderly Patients. The home health aide continues to learn more about his or her niche of home care, especially as work is continued in the same area. One such area is geriatrics.
Elderly people were raised to do for themselves. They normally have a lasting sense of pride in knowing they can do things on their own, and this is partially the reason so many of them are reluctant to move into an assisted living facility or a nursing home. Accepting a home health aide into their home and allowing the aide to help them with activities of daily living may be difficult for some. This is for a few reasons. First, realizing that they are unable to do everything on their own is like admitting defeat. Second, accepting someone into their home requires admitting to themselves that they are aging. Lastly, many elderly patients don’t trust the younger generation. These are all factors that a home health aide must remember when entering an elderly patient home for the first time.
After getting your foot in the door its important to remember that some elderly people will appreciate it if you allow them to do things on their own, as long as they are not in danger. For example, patients may not be able to get around the kitchen and cook their meals, but that does not mean they need assistance when eating. Other patients may not be able to lift a leg up off the floor in order to step into the bath tub, but this does not mean that they need assistance once they are in the bath. Its better to just make the patient comfortable and to remind them that you will be right there if they call for you.
The patients family can pose a huge problem for the home health aide. Different family members may tell you to do things one way, while others may want things done another way. The most important thing you can do is smile, say okay and then work with your patient to do things the way he or she wants them done. When family members call you for an update you need to keep privacy laws in mind. If your patient has not signed a release of information for every family member, you are not allowed to give them information. Additionally, its impossible to verify who someone is over the phone, so its just best to inform the person on the telephone that you cannot discuss the patient over the phone but they are welcome to stop by and meet with you and the patient. This is a great way to get family members to visit the elderly person, especially if the patient does not get a lot of visitors.
Cultural variances are very common, especially with the elderly population. Its always best to ask the patient during your first meeting if there are any religious or cultural beliefs that could potentially affect the way you offer your services. Most people will be happy that you care enough to ask about this and even impressed when you follow through with the patients wishes. Some examples of cultural differences are things like Jehovahs Witnesses do not accept blood or blood by-products for any reason. Another may be the Muslim population prays several times per day and many of them have a prayer rug. Its very important that you do not touch, move or step on this rug. Doing so is a sign of disrespect. Catholics do not believe in birth control, so elderly females will still have their reproductive organs intact, unless there was a reason to surgically remove them in the past.
There are many different things to take into consideration when dealing with an elderly patient. Some of these patients enjoy their independence and will struggle with you coming in to their home to assist them. Other elderly patients enjoy having someone come in because they are so lonely. These patients may allow you to do everything for them, even if they can do things themselves. Learn as much as you can about your patient and respect his or her wishes. It takes time to develop a relationship, to allow trust to form. Be patient and always be honest.