Do’s & Dont’s for assisting the elderly after an illness/surgery

October 3, 2012 at 4:33 pm Leave a comment

Properly caring for our aging loved ones as they recover from an illness or surgery is an essential part of their recovery. AmeriCare Georgia’s Director of Nursing Karen Rawls gives us some valuable advice on what to do and what not to do when this type of situation arises!  

Do’s
  • Make sure to ask healthcare professionals about the type of pre and post illness care that is recommended and to adhere to those requirements.
  • Keep a log of medications and possible reactions and call the doctor immediately if a suspected reaction occurs.
  • Keep a calendar posted in an obvious place such as the refrigerator of any scheduled physical therapy and other follow-up appointments and treatments.
  • Practice cleanliness of yourself and the patient by using good handwashing techniques as well as other infection control practices.
  • Be cognizant of privacy but also make sure that the elderly person doesn’t get lonely and may just want to spend some time with you. Provide comfort measures, which could include pet therapy, companion sitter and other appropriate social activities.
  • Watch out for signs of depression – studies have shown that depression in the elderly is a major problem.  Signs and symptoms of depression could include loss of interest in doing things, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, irritablity and unresolved tiredness.  If you suspect someone is becoming depressed then call the doctor for a full evaluation
Don’ts
  • Don’t try to lift or move a patient without using proper body mechanics, which includes protecting your back.  Also never lift an elderly person by theirwrist, arms,legs or other extremeties  but try to have two people move a person if possible for support.
  • Don’t try to reposition or move an elderly person alone – make sure that there is someone there to help you. Morning and bedtime routines that can be the most challenging part of the day.

 

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