Many people, by reason of advanced age, physical disability or mental deficiency, find themselves in need of home supervision. They may no longer be able to remember to take the medication for their physical condition, make their medical appointments, carry out daily tasks around the house and assist with personal grooming and bathing when need be. Ultimately, however, the role of a nursing assistant is to facilitate independent living for patients for as long as possible and make them feel safe and cared for in the privacy and comfort of their own homes.
Nurse Assistants can usually be hired through professional agencies to that provide expert elder care. As such, they are required to hold a relevant qualification and have experience in the field. Usually nurse assistants have completed a state-approved Nurse Aide or Personal Care Assistant course as required by state law. A valid driver’s license is also needed since part of their job includes driving patients from and to medical appointments as well as assisting with shopping and running errands. In fact, nursing attendants need to have a broad range of skills as the job of live-in help is not straight-forward by any means.
Some of the essential functions a nurse assistant performs include:
• Assisting with personal hygiene (assisting to bathroom or in using bedpan, bathing, care of mouth, skin and hair)
• Assisting with prescribed range of motion exercises
• Eating and Meal Preparation
• Walking, driving, etc.
• Some homemaking activities as needed
A great deal of the responsibilities that nurse aides perform are medical-related, such as giving injections, caring for wounds, checking vital signs such as blood pressure, blood glucose level, etc. This requires them to have a strong educational background in health, medicine and/or pharmacy to ensure that they can provide adequate care. Some families even look to hire personal nursing assistants who have additional specialization in physiotherapy, especially for patients who have been bed-ridden for extended periods of time. Such professionals can provide palliative care and management of terminally ill patients (pain management, counselling therapy for the patient and family, etc.).
The process of selecting the right nurse assistant for a loved one is a long and difficult one. Everyone wants the best for their family members, especially when they are vulnerable due to aging or a medical condition. The bottom line is that there will be a stranger most of the day, every day, with someone you care about, and it’s perfectly normal that this thought makes you unease. However, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of having a nurse aid at home to determine if it’s the best decision in your situation.
Most agencies are happy to conduct various meetings between the nursing assistant and the family to see if the working arrangements suite everyone. Use them to ask as many questions as you feel are necessary to put your mind at ease. Remember that these people are there to offer support and help through the difficult times that your family is going through. They are qualified professionals who can make life easier and less stressful for your loved one not only by providing the much-needed medical care, but by offering comfort and company too. For elderly people and patients with medical conditions that take their toll on their mind and body – this can have immense life-changing qualities.