Some basic safety precautions…
Your primary nurse will instruct you on ways to remain safe. Some basic precautions you can take are:
1. Install smoke detectors in all levels of the house, especially in the
kitchen and sleeping areas
2. Test smoke detector batteries yearly and replace as needed
3. Keep a fire extinguisher in the house, in or near the kitchen
4. Check electrical cords for fraying or cracking. Replace if necessary.
5. Do not run electrical cords under rugs or furniture or through doorways
6. Do not place too many plugs into outlets or overuse extension cords
7. Turn down the temperature on the water heater to prevent burning
8. Place rubber mats in the tub and shower and on tiled floors where the patient may slip
9. Keep emergency phone numbers near every phone
The Charity Hospice staff can help you identify and potential safety hazards in your home, and provide instruction on how to correct problems and minimize any risks.
Families and caregivers will be instructed by the hospice team on how to prevent the spread of disease. We are not only concerned with the possibility of spreading infectious diseases of patients, but, due to the patient’s sometimes weakened immune system, we also need to address the spreading infections TO the patient.
Here are some general safety precautions you can take:
No matter how much you may want to care for a patient, if you are sick with a cold or the flu, it is best to get help from someone while you are ill to prevent passing the germs on to the patient. This includes visitors, if a friend or family member is ill, it is a good idea to limit their contact with the patient if possible.
WASH YOUR HANDS! This is the easiest and most important step you can take to decrease the spreading of germs. Wash hands for at least 15 seconds both before and after contact with the patient. (Soap dispensers and paper towels are more sanitary than bar soap and cloth towels.)
Wear gloves whenever you will be in contact with body fluids such as urine, stool, mucous or blood. Remember to wear gloves if you have any open areas on your hands to protect the patient. Please ask your hospice staff about providing gloves for you.
Waste disposal is also an important part of caregiving. All dressings, bandages or other waste that contains body fluids may be double bagged in sealed plastic bags and put into the trash. Liquid body fluids may be flushed down the toilet (such as emptying a bedpan, etc.) All needles and syringes must be placed in a tightly sealed hard plastic metal containers.
Your hospice team will provide you with any special instructions you may need to prevent the spread of disease between the patient and others. If you have any questions, please ask your hospice nurse to help you.
Patient safety and ambulation is always of concern to family and caregivers. Because of weakness, poor vision, trouble with balance, some medications and/or possible household hazards, patients may have difficulty getting around and are sometimes susceptible to falling.
Some easy steps that can be taken to decrease the risk of falling are:
Take your time. Sit up slowly and stay there for a moment before getting out up.
This gives you time to catch your breath and to check for any dizziness or weakness.
Remove any throw rugs, they may trip you or slip on hard floors.
Place rubber bottomed bath mats on slippery floors instead.
.Wear your glasses and turn on the lights. Many falls occur because we “just didn’t see”
Wear only well-fitting shoes or slippers with rubber “treads” on the bottom
Use any available assistance. Whether a steadying hand from a
caregiver, or a cane or walker, a little assistance may be all you need
Keep the bed rails up while you are in bed. They not only keep you
from falling out of the bed, they are also helpful handholds for moving around in the bed.
Keep necessary items close by on the bedside table so the patient
does not have to get out of bed unnecessarily
Provide a call system so the patient can call for help easily. (A baby monitor or simply a bell will work)
Your hospice nurse will talk to you and assess the risks for falls or injury and instruct you on ways to manage safely.
Positioning or moving a patient with limited mobility is a common occurrence for families and caregivers. PLEASE ASK YOUR HOSPICE NURSE OR CERTIFIED NURSING ASSISTANT TO INSTRUCT YOU IN THE PROPER TECHNIQUES. This is for your safety and for the safety of the patient.
Some general guidelines to follow are:
Explain what you are doing and ask the patient to help as much as possible
Check any tubing, catheters or dressings before and after moving
If using hospital bed, lower head of bed and raise bed to waist level
Maintain good body mechanics – keep your back straight and lift with your legs, use leg and arm muscles, not back muscles, turn with your whole body, not at the waist.
Pushing, pulling, rolling, turning and sliding are easier than lifting
Sheets, blankets, slide boards and transfer belts can be used to assist with moving patients. Your hospice nurse may also be able to see that your are provided with other medical equipment which may help.
Get assistance if you can. It is always easier for two people to move a patient than it is for one person to try to do it alone.
Hospice nurses and certified nursing assistants are well-trained in the procedures for moving patients. They will teach you the best ways to move the patient which will prevent injury to the patient and to you.
Lastly, the staff will also talk to you about Charity Hospice's Emergency Preparedness plan in the event of any environmental disaster.