31st August 2016
Providing excellent home care for the elderly and those with dementia can mean reading between the lines, picking up on signs that they may be reluctant to discuss. You can only do that when you build up really strong relationships with them, and when you take the time to notice the little things.
When our homecarer Heather went for a routine visit to one of our clients, she could tell things weren’t quite right. He winced when she was getting him dressed; when she asked him about it, he admitted that he had fallen in the night but insisted he was alright.
Heather wasn’t convinced, so she pulled back his vest and saw extensive bruising on his shoulder. She alerted the office, who called out the GP. The doctor told our client that he needed to go to hospital for an x-ray; he doesn’t like leaving home, so he refused.
The following night he fell again. When Heather arrived for her visit she did a full body check and saw that the bruising had spread. She explained to the client that he really did need an X-ray and managed to get him into the ambulance: “I gave him a kiss goodbye and told him to be good!” The x-ray revealed that he had broken his collar bone and humerus (the bone in the upper arm).
“If I hadn’t pulled back his vest when I first noticed him wincing, it could have gone undiagnosed for a long time, and caused no end of problems,” says Heather. “But we got him to the right place to enable him to make the best possible recovery – and I even dropped his slippers off to him at the hospital when I finished my shift, as I knew he wouldn’t feel comfortable without them.”
It’s the close relationships that our homecare team build up with our clients – and their ability to see beyond the agreed care plan – that means they pick up on the little things that are so essential to caring properly for the whole person.