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How to Prepare a Loved One for Home Health Care

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Many older or chronically ill family members can benefit from home health care services. In fact, doctors often recommend or prescribe home care for patients who are homebound or need extra medical attention between doctor checkups. A home care agency can set up a schedule with family members and work out a list of tasks to be performed by the health care worker during home visits. During the initial meeting and the first few visits, family members can take a few basic steps that will help the loved one in need be more accepting of home health assistance.

? Find common ground.

A caregiver who provides home health care assistance may seem like a professional while dressed in uniform and carrying health care equipment. But the caregiver is also human like the rest of us. After meeting the patient during an at-home introduction, it helps for the nurse or other health caregiver to make light conversation and look for common experiences. These can range from having grown up in the same town, attending the same school, enjoying similar foods or recreational activities, and other shared interests to forge a comfortable bond.

Establish a routine.

In addition to scheduling home care assistance on regular days and times, it may be helpful for the home health care provider to do things in the same order each time. When the older sick person knows what to expect, he or she will be less uneasy and more likely to settle into a predictable agenda that feels normal or even welcome.

Add humor.

Seeing someone’s smile can immediately reduce stress and lift a person’s spirits. Home health care providers who smile often and make humorous, lighthearted comments make a patient feel more at ease. Not everyone has an overt funny side, but even the occasional joke or a mild teasing comment can make an older person feel more relaxed.

Serve a snack.

Sharing food is one of the most common ways that encourage socialization. Offering coffee or tea along with a cookie or fruit to both patient and caregiver may remove barriers and facilitate casual chat to alleviate any potential anxieties that develop during a home health care visit.

Family members can interview home care agencies to find one that is willing to work with suggestions like these. The right caregiver can make a huge difference in a homebound patient’s well-being and recovery. A relaxed attitude, a friendly demeanor, and an optimistic outlook all go a long way to reassuring an unwell or aging person who may be uncomfortable meeting and being assisted by a strange new person.

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