Having worked in Health Care for many years there have been many experiences I can share with you that would make you laugh out loud and there are also many stories I could tell you that would bring a tear to your eye but I can save them for another Blog. Today I want to discuss mobilising around the home in homecare. A lot of our aging population would like to live out their days at home. This is their civil right to do so. I feel that when I am older, I would like to spend my remaining days at home too. However, as healthcare workers, family members, partners, loved ones and even public health nurses we fear that the older we get, the more unsafe we become. And a house that we have lived in most of our adult life (with very few issues and accidents) has now become a risk!
Why is this you ask? Sure, I have been living her all my life, who are you to say I am at risk at home! Does this sound very common to you as a frontline worker? It sure does for us which is why my emphasis in this blog will be communication and language. Language is very important when firstly dealing with managing risk and risk assessments in a client’s or loved one’s home environment. I have always loved the tool T.I.L.E as I do believe it covers all areas for managing risk in all capacities that is simple to follow.
T=Tasks- What is involved?
I=Individual – Can I manage this alone?
L-Load – What can my loved one or client do for themselves?
E=Environment – Does this environment suit the task? Can this be made easier? Easier way that’s safe?
The Majority of us are built automatic to care for others so at times we are unconsciously finding risks and fix them by any means and make it safe without considering that the person we are caring for may know a little bit more than us, however it is still important to try and manage falls prevention in the home. I have put together several tips to start the process based on my experience both as a frontline worker and a Patient moving and handling instructor.
Ask the person how it they normally do tasks and if you are not satisfied or believe this is an unsafe practice for your loved one or client, start with “Can I make a suggestion?”
CLARIFY – Clarify this person is able to … and to what extent. If you work for a company always clarify with your person in charge. Each task you are prepared to carry out, inform the person what it is and how it will be done. Effective communication is key!
PERMISSION – In every task you do for anyone you must gain consent.
PREPARATION – Good preparation leads to a smooth task! If you are working or supporting a person who is a risk of falls, ensure all areas are clear, you have all mobility aids available ie walking frame or rollator & if that person gets tired have your plan B ready. For example, walk beside that person with a wheelchair and if they get tired allow them to sit down. Plan short walks to gain confidence for the person you are supporting.
INDEPENDENCE – Always allow the person to do / try as much as they can themselves and you assist with what they cannot do! The circle of life is hard enough for our older generation so allow them to maintain what ability they have left. Give direction to the older person. For example, when going from a sitting position to a standing one from a chair, ensure you tell the person you are supporting to push down on the handles of the chair and give them a count such as “ready, steady & stand”.
PERSONAL CARE– It is vitally as important that you manage your own mobility and back care so that you can give great care and support to an older person and this is not just in the work place! Stretch and exercise regularly and make the environment suit you! If I don’t practice safe health for myself, how can I be expected to do it for an older and frailer person!
Remember if in doubt, never do a task you feel may go wrong or that you are uncomfortable with. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or assistance and say you are struggling to manage … Consider a training course or a refresher course and compliment your current skillset. My ability will help with your mobility!
This has worked so far for me.