Basic Guide To Understanding Personal Care Services And What They Offer

Basic Guide To Understanding Personal Care Services And What They Offer | HealthSoul

Seniors suffering from diseases, recuperating from surgery, or have disability or mobility issues require a specific type of care. While some prefer to be independent, it’s important to understand that seniors may require professional support services to manage daily living.

A caregiver can help with their needs while they recover or when they require long-term care due to a chronic illness. Such service providers are provided for seniors who are homebound and don’t want to stay in a seniors’ home.

Caregivers and aides are trained to assist them at home with great care, especially if the patients have mental or physical difficulties. In-care home may be a combination of medical services and home care, depending on the patient. If the senior needs medications, trained nurses are the ones who administer them in proper doses. Overall, trained staff provides companionship and helps patients become organized in their own homes.

Staff Duties

Specially trained staff must perform the following: 

  • Must follow the set standards and protocols while caring for the patient.
  • They must follow the necessary care plans agreed upon with the clients and with their representatives.
  • They must respect the desires, wishes, and needs of the service user.
  • Follow all health procedures to keep themselves safe from harm.
  • Must achieve the best practices for home care.
  • They must carefully perform tasks and keep the clients safe from harm while doing so.
  • Make sound decisions while caring for a service user who doesn’t have the mental health capacity to make their own decisions.
  • Coordinate with other health care providers, if necessary, and to use training and supervision opportunities provided.

Two Types Of Home Care

Healthy care services also include getting the right care that the patient needs. Some may require a customized care plan appropriate to their medical conditions.

As mentioned, medical home care staff include nurses, psychiatrists, and physical therapists. The following are their duties:

  • Managing pain and medication of the service users
  • Services on medical or psychological needs or both
  • Physical therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Wound care and healing
  • Nursing care
  • Disease care and management
  • Proper administration of medication
  • Oxygen and medical supplies management

Non-medical personal care, on the other hand, includes staff that provides support on the following:

  • Haircare that includes combing and shaving
  • Body care such as bathing and showering
  • Assisting the service user in dressing
  • Oral or dental care, such as brushing the teeth and managing and cleaning dentures
  • Nail care such as careful clipping of toenails
  • Foot care that includes proper cleaning of the skin of the toes, ball, and heels
  • Helps during mealtimes (eating and drinking)
  • Continence management–using the toilet, change of beddings, and catheter management
  • Assists in getting the service user back to bed or their wheelchair
  • May include home maintenance services

For convenience, some agencies, like this hospice in Idaho falls, provide both medical and non-medical personal care to service users. Others only provide one of each. If the client needs multiple specialists, the agency will arrange a team that’ll work together and performs specific tasks for the patient’s needs.

Personal Care Assessment

One sign that you or your family member may need home care is when family members can’t be around to help monitor anymore. The agency will assess the needs of the service user in terms of the appearance and condition of the mouth, hair, nails, feet, and clothing appearance.

Seniors have care needs that may be unique, so the staff must follow the care plan. The assembled team or the individual caregiver must understand the service user’s personal needs and carry them out without fail. The staff must also have patience and compassion for their service users. Since they support the elderly who’s moving at a slow or limited pace, the staff shouldn’t perform these tasks in a hurry.

Common Senior Care Tips

  • Bathing Or Showering

Since bathing can be a source of distress, staff must know how to put the service users at ease. It’s natural for the patient to feel embarrassment or awkwardness during this time. However, they’ll eventually warm up to the idea once the staff shows they’re accustomed to the task. Appeasing patients also involves a natural flow of conversation to help them become more comfortable with the staff.

It’s important to set up a bathing schedule that depends on the needs of the senior. Some require a combination of sponge baths and full baths in a week. It’s important not to miss bath time as it helps with hygiene and provides comfort at the same time.

The caregiver can also allow the service user self-care so they still feel a semblance of independence. To prevent them from slipping and hurting themselves, observing the proper precautionary measures must be in place.

  • Intimate Care

The care of the genital area and the rectum is another sensitive concern that seniors may not be comfortable with. Thus, female caregivers assist female service users, and male caregivers support male service users. Perineal care is typically done through bathing and proper preparation, starting from the water’s right temperature.

Supplies such as a soft towel, washcloth, cleansers (regular or medicated), and disposable gloves help efficient care of the area. Again, a casual conversation may help the service user feel at ease. The service user is allowed some privacy if they can do it themselves. In some cases, the staff may also teach the service user how to clean that area if they can understand and has the capability to do so.

  • Mouth And Oral Care

Mouth and oral care include toothbrushing, flossing, and denture care. Physical limitations, such as physical deformities, diseases, injuries, and memory issues, may prevent seniors from properly taking care of their teeth. Depending on the planned personal care, the senior may also get a dental checkup.

To avoid bacteria getting into the tools, the staff washes their hands before and after the procedure. The staff makes sure that the senior brush their teeth after meals at least two minutes each time. They make use of fluoride toothpaste and a toothbrush with soft bristles. They use a proper denture cleaner for the dentures, which the senior must take off before bedtime and submerged in water overnight.

Both the senior and the staff must be wary of any dental diseases that may develop. The staff can schedule a visit to the dentist if it’s included in the plan.

  • Dressing And Undressing

The personal care staff must understand that the choice of clothes should be the senior’s preference.

The staff may suggest clothes that will not hinder movement, with closures at the front. The clothes should also be easy for the seniors to put on their own and appropriate to their condition. It’s also a must that the staff is sensitive to the service user’s feelings when it comes to the clothes and their bodies.

  • During Mealtimes

Eating and drinking are vital to the patient’s wellness. However, seniors may have difficulty swallowing. The use of utensils may also be challenging for the senior.

Thankfully, the trained staff will prepare appropriate soft diets that don’t need cutting. If necessary, supplements may also be included. The staff must have the patience for slow eaters as well, both at home or in public.

  • Hair And Beard Care

The hairstyle and beard style should be according to what the service user wants. If he has a personal way of grooming, it should be up to the person. If the senior is unable, the trained staff must carefully do the following:

  • Use the proper shampoo while bathing
  • Assist the service user to the barbershop or the salon for a haircut and styling

The agency also assesses if the service user is unable to do such tasks for himself or herself.

  • Feet And Nail Care

Staff may also help the senior clients trim their nails. However, trained personnel should cut toenails when the service user has diabetes. The entire foot may need podiatric assessment annually to see if any issues hinder the foot’s movement. Proper hygiene should be observed, as well.

  • Continence Care

The care plan is devised according to the assessment of the service user. People who are well enough to execute their toilet routines will do it on their own once they feel the need to. Others may require more assistance. In this case, the staff must observe proper hygiene standards for both the service user and themselves. A specialist may also provide continence and urinary tract care.

  • Mobility Support

The care agency may follow a strict set of guidelines from service users with mobility issues in different ranges. Others may only need assistive tools, such as a cane or walker, while others may need to be carried for transferring.

The health care service provider may arrange the furniture to provide freedom of movement. The staff must be aware of both the care assessment and management as the service user may also need specific instructions on the use of equipment.

How Much The Personal Care Services Costs

Personal care services commonly cost between $200 to $350 per day. You can find personal care services by reaching out to your community center. Your district nurse may also make referrals to help assess your situation.

Various factors can affect the cost of personal care services, for instance:

  • Capacity To Pay

Depending on your location, assisted living can range from $3,300 to $5,000 per month. If you find it difficult to pay for what you need, you can reach out to Medicaid and inquire about assistance programs for the elderly. Your state may also come with financial assistance for those who’ll qualify.

How To Find The Proper Home Care Agency

There are a few ways on how you can find the help you need. For one, you can search online for the nearest personal care service providers in your area. You may ask a family member to do this for you. Such websites may come with contact numbers that you can call if you have questions.

What Should I Look For In A Personal Care Agency?

As mentioned, a personal care agency has trained staff who follow a specific set of guidelines, policies, and rules when taking care of a service user. Since there are various agencies, you need to be careful with whom you’re dealing with.

Thankfully, you can turn to these factors when finding the right one for you or a loved one.

  1. Staffing Practices

You may want to list the right questions to ask the agency you chose, such as how will you know if the staff is compatible working with a patient, how they set up schedules, what to do if a staff member is suddenly not fit to work, how they select and hire employees, and more.

  1. Agency Reputation

You want to work with an agency with years of service, follows good business practices, with good customer support, quality control, and prevents fraud. You can search for them online or your community services. Also, ask for references so you’ll get word if that agency is honest or not.

  1. Affordability And Coverage

You’ll need to assess your options and how much coverage you need. See in which areas of your life do you need help the most. Calculate your income, and if you can get financial assistance, make the most out of it.

  1. Keeps Up With Technology

You want an agency that uses SMS to communicate with their service users. Communication should be smooth and regular as you require care that follows schedules. Emergencies may also occur, which is why you need to be in the loop of things.

You must have strict contact with both the agency and your care staff to report relevant things to the agency and make sure that the staff is doing their job.

In Conclusion

Personal care services are vital, especially for senior living with various limitations. They may require help with body care, mobility, eating and drinking, and proper grooming. Personal care staff must be trained and have the temperament to be patient, understanding, and compassionate.

It’s also crucial for seniors to get the partial to full care that they need to get a semblance of normalcy. They may not have full independence, but they’ll still have the chance to do some of the things they still love.