Once a patient leaves the hospital, their medical journey is only just beginning. Once at home, the real work starts in returning a patient to peak health or providing maintenance care. While the home is traditionally a safe place where patients feel most comfortable, it can be a problematic and dangerous environment for healthcare.
With this in mind, it is the job of a homecare provider to find and mitigate threats found in a patient’s home that could prevent positive homecare health outcomes. So, what are the most significant home threats providers should look out for in a patient’s environment?
Homecare Threat #1: Medication Management
“Nearly one-third of older home health care patients have a potential medication problem. Elderly home health care patients are especially vulnerable to adverse events from medication errors; they often take multiple medications for a variety of comorbidities that have been prescribed by more than one provider.” Also, “the majority of older home health care patients routinely take more than five prescription drugs, and many patients deviate from their prescribed medication regime.”
With medication management being a significant issue in homecare, it’s essential for homecare providers to make sure patients have an in-place medication management system to guard against medication errors. Providing patients with a schedule and a medication dispenser that prevents overdosing can significantly help. Also, arming caregivers with basic knowledge regarding medications, schedules and drug interactions can also be useful in preventing severe, potentially life-threatening events from happening.
Homecare Threat #2: Falls and Accidents
“Emergent care for injury caused by falls or accidents at home is one of the most frequently occurring adverse events reported for patients receiving skilled home health care services. Thirty percent of people age 65 and older fall each year. One in five of these fall incidents requires medical attention.”
With falls and accidents being a constant threat in the home, it is necessary for homecare providers to educate patients and caregivers of the risks. It is best for homecare providers to go through the home environment and do an evaluation of fall dangers and work with the patient and their family to correct them. Mitigation strategies can include handrails or removal of potential hazards.
Homecare Threat #3: Wound Care
Successful wound care is critical to a patient’s health and well-being. Homecare providers should demonstrate proper cleaning and disinfecting procedures. Providers should establish an area of the home where wounds can be safely cleaned and dressed. Also, patients and caregivers need to be aware of the signs of infection. Appropriately dealing with wound care it can prevent hospital re-admissions.
Homecare Threat #4: Depression and Isolation
When a patient is recovering at home, depression and isolation can set in. Depression is a slow the healing process and decrease positive healthcare outcomes. It is important to encourage patients to maintain interests and interaction with others. Setting up a visitation schedule with friends and family can help. Also, reading and other activities can keep the mind stimulated preventing boredom which then fuels depression.
Homecare Threat #5: Not Following Care Plans and Instructions
Once a patient is at home, often life can get overwhelming. Thus, homecare providers need to occasionally go over homecare plans and ensure that patients understand and are following procedures to the letter. Also, home care providers must get into the habit of providing patient’s reminders of upcoming doctors’ appointments. If a homecare provider feels that a patient is not complying with homecare plans, they should speak with the patient’s caregiver to ensure there is an understanding of the homecare plan and the risks associated with non-compliance.
Planning for Success
Successful homecare is vital to a patient’s recovery and well-being. It is the job of the homecare provider to identify homecare risks and ensure positive patient outcomes.
If you are a homecare provider and are looking for new and exciting challenges, contact the experts in healthcare staffing, National Recruiters. At National Recruiters, we are leaders in the staffing of homecare providers. Contact our home healthcare recruiters today to learn more!