Since joining the Home Care Nursing team as their Clinical Registered Nurse, there have been some challenges to face. Most of which have been related to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, despite this there have been many good news stories to report from our home care recipients. Whilst it has been a frustrating experience for people who are waiting a long time to receive a home care package, it has been a joy to see the many advantages of home care nursing and the benefits these packages can provide.
For example, a consumer signed up with us as a result of having memory loss and suffering comorbidities. “Max” had been on the waiting list for a home care package for nearly two years. He was accepted for a level three package and recently upgraded to a level four. Prior to our service Max was living a sedentary life, becoming more chair bound every day. On my first visit to Max’s home, the stress was evident on his wife’s face, being his only carer.
The benefit of being on a home care package is that it is totally client centred. Upon close listening and attuned to the problems being faced, together we were able to develop a care plan that started to address many of Max’s needs and the stresses that were being placed on his wife.
What was happening in this household probably reflects the problems of many in that they had limited outside support. In this case, prior to receiving the Home Care Package, the couple were receiving assistance with weekly household cleaning but there was no continuity of care. This meant that each time a new worker arrived at their home the couple would have to explain the same instructions for cleaning and finding equipment, which would be multiple times a month.
Max and his wife were surprised that under the package they could have a home Physio and Occupational Therapy (OT) review. These assessments were the key to tailoring the care to their individual needs. After the OT assessment safety equipment such as handrails and ramps were able to be installed. The new equipment provided not only falls risk management but peace of mind for our clients in so far as feeling safe in their own home.
The OT service went hand in hand with having a regular physiotherapist home on a weekly basis. Together both these services have enabled Max to feel safe, moving more freely around his home. Max is now more comfortable and confident to walk, and exercise regularly as directed by his physiotherapist. As a result, over the last couple of months, Max has made great strides in becoming less chair bound and less dependent on others to care for him.
Max stated ‘’I never thought 100 steps were possible again but now I can even go all the way to the front office of the village without stopping’’.
Whilst Max has shown a marked improvement in his mobility of late the carer stress on his wife is still evident. Fortunately, the recent increase in service to a level 4 package has allowed her to delegate some of the personal care responsibilities to the home care staff. This has been a significant decision for the couple given the years of independence and personal privacy they have enjoyed to date. Whilst it is a huge decision to relinquish the provision of personal care the various home care services give Max’s wife a break from the physical and emotional stress involved in providing all of Max’s requirements for daily living.
These examples follow the Aged Care Quality Standards 1-8. It may be a basic requirement to follow these standards however, it is essential that both clients and their carers are listened to. This enables HOME CARE providers to give quality care. The home care team and I receive great satisfaction when making a difference in helping the consumers of our service feel safe and well, living in their own home.