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ValuableCaregiver Training Boosts Patient Safety and Capability

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Sep 12, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Residential in the Real World

Caregiver Training Boosts Patient Safety and CapabilityImproving mobility is a slow, strenuous process. Gains are small and incremental, and patients can require a lot of assistance before getting to a point of sure-footedness again. Some of this help can come in the form of expert physical therapists, who teach exercises and procedures in order to regain strength and safety. But lots of help comes from other sources, including caregivers. Spouses, children, friends, and neighbors can be of assistance for a task as simple as lending an arm for balance, or as challenging as using the bathroom. Having someone to lean on, literally and figuratively, is an important stepping stone between restricted movement and independent ambulation.

For Residential Home Health physical therapist Allison, caring for her patient after surgery also extended to training for the patient’s primary caregiver. By helping the pair work safely and efficiently together, she enabled incredible strides in her patient’s function and capability at home.

A Team Approach

Allison’s patient had a number of mobility challenges going into his home care. Most recently, he had undergone surgical repair of his right hip, and was using a power wheelchair in the early stages of recovery. However, the patient also had residual weakness on his right side from a stroke 14 years prior. He was dependent on a power wheelchair for mobility, and required adaptive equipment and assistance in order to stand up and to get in and out of bed. Almost all movement around the house necessitated lots of demanding hands-on help by the patient’s primary caregiver, his wife.

When Allison initiated her patient’s therapy with gait training, she began with safe two-person assists, showing the patient’s wife how they could team up to help him practice walking together. They worked first on level surfaces for ease and safety, but later progressed to uneven surfaces and thresholds. Once the patient's strength began to build, Allison trained his wife in single-person assist protocols, teaching her how to enable her husband to ambulate with more safety and less strain on her own body.

Striding Toward Independence

Over the course of his home care, the patient became increasingly able to participate in transfer activities, contributing his own renewed strength and making the process easier for all involved. By Allison’s final visit, he was able to walk fifty feet without caregiver assistance, using only a walker for aid. Seeing this stunning result moved the patient’s wife to tears of joy. Both were thrilled that Allison had returned the patient so close to his previous level of function, more independent and less reliant on others. Thanks to Allison’s training and team approach, her patient felt happier and more independent at home — where he was excited to resume watching hockey games among friends and family, seated comfortably on the furniture rather than in his wheelchair.

No matter what your health challenge may be, Residential Home Health offers a range of services to help you work toward your health goals safely at home. Call (888)930-WELL (9355) to discuss your specific situation with a Home Care Specialist today, or click the link below to take our 60-second, 15-question Home Care Assessment.

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Topics: Caregiving, Real World Stories