Health Care for the sick – Nursing Care for the Disabled, Children, and the Elderly eTech Guide
In-Home Nursing Care eTech Guide Introduction
Before you undertake to give nursing care you should first ask yourself: what is nursing? It could be defined merely as a Set of tasks to be carried out in the shortest possible time, without considering individual likes or wants.
In reality, nursing is the act of looking after an individual, helping him to do what he would do by himself if he could, and helping him in such a way that he does not lose his dignity and is encouraged to regain whatever independence he can as soon as he can.
The Need of the Patient (Health Care)
The patient has the same needs as the person who is well. As you may have to help him do things that he cannot do for himself, you should know what the individual’s basic needs are. Everyone needs:
- To be in a safe environment.
- To move and maintain a comfortable position.
- To keep his body clean and well-groomed and protect his skin.
- To select suitable clothing and dress and undress.
- To eat and drink adequately.
- To eliminate.
- To sleep and rest.
- To maintain normal body temperature.
- To breathe normally.
- To communicate with others and express emotions, needs, and fears.
- To work at something that provides a sense of accomplishment.
- To play or participate in various forms of recreation.
- To learn, discover, or satisfy the curiosity that is part of normal development and health.
- To worship according to his faith.
Each of these needs should be considered concerning the individual patient and you should ask yourself certain questions:
- What can the patient do unaided?
- Is his present disability temporary or permanent?
- Can he be taught or re-taught to do the things he is unable to do at present and so gain independence?
- If he cannot gain independence, can his family or friends help, and, if so, will they require instructions?
- Is professional help necessary through members of the health or social work teams?
If you try and answer these questions for yourself, you will be learning a great deal about the individual patient’s needs. In planning individual nursing care you must then do all you can to ensure that the physical, psychological, social, financial, and spiritual needs of the individual are met.
Health Care: Physical Needs
Physical needs include: being able to breathe, eat and drink, rest and sleep, and be safe in a stable environment. As you plan a daily routine for the patient you take account of these needs. You make sure he is washed, fed, gets enough sleep, and stays secure in familiar surroundings.
If the patient has to enter the hospital, he may find that environment unfamiliar and unsettling, even hostile, in which case you need to do as much as you can to make him feel comfortable and at ease. (Nursing Care)
Health Care: Psychological Needs
Basic psychological needs include the need to be esteemed; the need to be valued, accepted, and recognized as an individual; and the need for security and privacy.
You can help to maintain the patient’s self-esteem by encouraging as much independence as possible and by using a proper name and title. Many an elderly spinster feels annoyed and humiliated by being referred to as “gran”.
Take into account the patient’s age, background, physical and mental condition, and, depending on how well you know him, adjust your approach accordingly.
Ensure that privacy is available whenever the patient requires it, particularly if you are attending to his personal needs or if he wishes to talk quietly with a friend, lawyer, or priest.
Be alert to his feelings of insecurity, particularly if his illness has lasted for a long time and has left him severely incapacitated. Apprehension, fear, and depression are often experienced by ill people.
Listen attentively to what the patient is saying; never appear hurried. Try instead to make him feel that you care about him as a person. This is less difficult in the home than it is in a hospital or institution, where many patients are seeking your help and attention at the same time.
Young physically handicapped men and women often have sexual problems. Do not ask them questions, but if someone is spontaneously confined in you let the doctor know what has been said.
Psycho-sexual counseling may help not only them but their family also and specialists in this field are very skilled people.
Health Care: Social Needs
Whether young or old, the patient needs companionship. Visitors are always welcome, yet they can tire the patient. Try and assess the patient’s condition to decide how much visiting is advisable and discuss your opinion with the family.
Radio or television can provide companionship but sets should be placed where they can be seen easily, heard without difficulty, and switched off when not required.
Turning off a television set some distance away can pose a problem: a set with remote control may be the answer. Alternatively, you should make sure that you are frequently available to respond to the patient’s needs.
Children confined to bed for a long period may need to continue their education. Encourage parents to consult the headteacher of the child’s school as he will give advice and can make any necessary arrangements.
Health Care Financial Needs
Many patients are worried about money and do not realize that they may be entitled to certain pensions or allowances. The district nursing sister can give advice or you can consult the local social security office or Citizens Advice Bureau.
Health Care Spiritual Needs
Whatever the patient’s beliefs, they should be respected. If he would like to talk to his minister, priest, or rabbi, a visit should be arranged. Make sure there is quiet and privacy during the visit and at any time when the patient would like to meditate or pray.
You should be aware of two other possibilities. The patient may have no religious belief; in this case, he should not be embarrassed or made to feel ashamed.
Alternatively, your beliefs may not be the same as his; under no circumstances should you try and force your ideas upon him.
Health Care: The Role of the Nursing Care volunteer
In this country, there has been a long tradition of voluntary effort aimed at helping those in need, while the extra pressures on the National Health Services in recent years have led to the increased emphasis being placed on the work of the voluntary organizations.
The Voluntary Health Care Organizations
Today voluntary Health Care organizations play a vital part in assisting with and extending the work of, statutory organizations. Several categories of patients benefit, particularly from their care.
Pressure on National Health Service beds has led to early discharge of patients from the hospital into the community, or to people undergoing minor investigations as out-patients rather than in-patients.
The Voluntary Nursing Care Aid Societies (Health Care)
The British Red Cross Society
The British Red Cross is an independent, paramedical organization. In peacetime Britain, the Society trains its members, and members of the public, in first aid, nursing, and associated subjects.
Its voluntary, unpaid members work to alleviate suffering paid members work to alleviate suffering among the sick, the injured, the handicapped, and the frail elderly. To train its members and maintain its services it relies on donations from the public.
The Society operates through local offices in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, and Britain’s remaining colonies and dependencies. The pictures show the uniform members wear for nursing duties (Nursing Care).
The St. John Ambulance
The Order of St. John of Jerusalem can be traced back to times before the Great Crusades when the brothers tended pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem.
Today it still has three great Foundations: the Ophthalmic Hospital in Jerusalem, the Association which is responsible for training, and the Brigade whose uniforms are so familiar at public functions.
The local unit of the Brigade is the Division; here the members meet together each week to undergo training in first aid and nursing. Doctors and nurses who are also members of the Brigade meet with them to teach and supervise their practice.
In any one year, the Brigade carries out more than three million hours of duties. The pictures show the uniform members wear for nursing duties, at home, or in hospital.
St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association
1882 was the first year of activity for the St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association and 173 cases of accident and sudden illness were removed from the streets of Glasgow and taken to hospital by litter.
The Glasgow of Queen Victoria’s reign was a rich, rapidly expanding industrial city. There was already a traffic problem, and the rapid increase in the number of road accidents was a matter of grave concern to a small handful of city doctors, while the industrial expansion and the advent of modern machinery were taking their toll on life and limb.
Before the year 1882 was much older, 500 members of the Association had been instructed: “in the preliminary care and attention to meet the first needs of suffers from accidents and bodily injuries and mutilation”. That same year the Association provided itself with one ambulance – the first in Scotland. (Read complete nursing care guide)
Today, one hundred years later, the organization has no fewer than 230 different Sections with a total strength of 6000, plus 2000 Cadets, in addition to 20,000 Association members.
The activities of the Association members. The activities of the Association cover a wide range of humanitarian work, including in its teaching a knowledge of first aid, nursing, and allied subjects, distributed widely among all age groups of the public – from school children to industrial and commercial concerns.
Classes are organized, followed by examinations, and successful candidates receive a Certificate of Proficiency. Competitions are arranged, while the Association also publishes textbooks, and organizes first aid films and visual aids.
The practical service is provided by uniformed and trained volunteers who carry out many voluntary duties throughout Scotland and are known as St. Andrew’s Ambulance Corps. Trained first aid personnel are provided at all types of public functions.
Another feature of the service is the outings arranged for elderly people, blind people, and physically handicapped children; trained men and/or women are also provided to accompany invalids or injured persons on journeys by land, air, or sea, and there is a Medical Aids Service.
St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association Cadet Corps has a strength of around 2000 boys and girls aged between 11 and 15, who are trained for service in the adult Sections. (Nursing Care)
As family patterns change, more and more elderly people are living on their own – these are people who often need help when they are well, let alone when they are ill. Nursing care guide.
Also with the help of modern drugs, many handicapped people live longer but still require constant attention. The range of work for the volunteer is extremely wide.
Much is the extension of “good neighborliness”; some are more organized and linked with professional workers such as the district nursing sister or social worker.
In the early 1960s, a recognition of the importance of the volunteers’ contribution led to the appointment of two Voluntary Service Organizations in the hospital service.
Their task was to identify areas where volunteers could play a useful part and to recruit and place individuals where needed. Appointments of this kind have increased and Voluntary Service Organizers are now to be found in hospitals and the Social Service Departments of local authorities.
The Individual Volunteer (Health Care)
This book is primarily intended for members of the nursing care voluntary aid societies but will also be of use to those who choose or need to give nursing care at home.
As a volunteer, you hold a unique place in society. When you give nursing care you are accepted by the patient, his relatives, and friends, and by the professional workers in the health care team.
You are expected to have certain qualities: you should be energetic, imaginative, independent, able to work alone or as part of a team, always willing, always reliable, and always self-controlled.
You should use tact and discretion; you should show sincerity, sympathy, and understanding.
You also need special skills: you should be gentle and dexterous, observant, reassuring, resourceful, able to communicate easily and give explicit instructions.
You should always look neat, as this can inspire confidence in the patient and his family. Your hair should be kept controlled and your nails short and clean.
Shoes should be carefully chosen to provide support and to remain silent as you move around the sickroom. Many people smoke, but the smell of smoke on the breath may be nauseating to an ill person.
You should also take care not to give offense to body odor. If you are careful about your cleanliness and freshness you are more likely to care about your patient’s appearance.
The Nursing Care Volunteer – Patient Relationship
When someone is ill he becomes a patient. He will probably feel insecure and need the support of those around him. By going about your work quietly and confidently you can quickly gain the respect and trust of the patient and his relatives.
A good question to ask is: “How would I like to be cared for if I were ill?” If you can satisfy yourself then you will satisfy the patient. Remember that everyone has different likes and dislikes, so whenever possible involve the patient in the decisions that you make about his care.
Maintaining a good volunteer-patient relationship takes time as well as effort, but that is what nursing is: time, effort, and skill in the service of others. Best tips of nursing care.
In the course of your work, you may learn a great deal about a patient. It is essential to remember that information given to you by the patient or about the patient should only be discussed with the doctor, nurse, or other professionals concerned with the care of the patient.
What is said and done in the sickroom is not subject to general comment or conversation outside it. Any instructions given by the doctor or professional nurse must be carried out punctually and carefully.
There must be loyalty to the doctor and nurse at all times. If you observe these rules you will find that your relationship with those offering professional care is one of trust.
The Nursing Care Volunteer Professional Relationship
The professional members of the health team are responsible for the patient. As a (nursing care) volunteer, you are only there to assist them. You must recognize your limitations and at no time try and exceed them. You should never make decisions or undertake treatment without prior consultation.
You must recognize that you are privileged in being accepted as part of the caring team and you should be prepared in all things to put the patient first.
Reliability is a key element in your relations with doctors and professional nurses (Nursing Care). If you undertake a ward duty you should expect to fulfill it regularly; otherwise, the ward sister cannot plan the use of your experience and maybe irritated at the waste of her valuable time.
You should be prepared to commit to training and keeping your skills up to date about nursing care. If you do, you will find the professional nurse only too willing to help you gain the knowledge and the skill you need for nursing care.
Several sections in this eTech Guide Health Care Category are concerned with the general care of babies and children. Although not strictly speaking about nursing sick patients, it is felt that such information is relevant and important enough to be included herein in nursing care.
The mother was just discharged from the hospital with her new baby, for instance, and all those offering her help could well benefit from some basic everyday information about looking after (nursing care) a newborn baby.
A few points about safety and health – such as how to store medicines, in the home, or what sort of shoes a child should wear – will be found in the appropriate articles about nursing care.
For people whose main interest is in the information about children and babies, blog pages dealing exclusively with these subjects have been picked out by a blue border running around the edge of the page. It is hoped that in this way the information will be easy to find and use.