Nearly every family at some time faces the problem of caring for someone sick or injured. Today, self-help and family health in nursing care take on new meaning because of the many demands upon physicians and nurses, the steady increase in the aging population, the early dismissal of the hospitalized patients, and the growing emphasis on home care programs for the patient with a long-term illness.
Also, the necessity to prepare the family and, in a broader sense, the community to take care of disaster-caused injuries and illness had increasing importance in a world grown smaller in time and space.
For all these reasons, responsible adults and their teenage sons and daughters need to learn those skills and to acquire the knowledge that will enable them to give care to the sick at home when it becomes necessary.
Preparing To Be A Home Nurse
Red Cross home nursing instruction is offered free to everyone who needs and wants the training. The course is based on two premises: one that cares of the sick and injured at home is primarily a family responsibility; and, two, that in the event of a significant disaster, necessary nursing skills can be readily adapted to the care of a significant number of casualties.
Nursing Care of the Sick at Home
Nursing care should be planned around the needs of the patient. Such factors as age, sex, the presence of physical handicaps, and the patient’s attitudes and feelings about his illness will affect the amount and kind of nursing care he needs. However, primary considerations are the diagnosis and the severity of the disease as well as the general physical condition of the patient at the time he became ill.
Any nursing care plan must be flexible so that it can be adjusted to meet changing circumstances that inevitably occur. The patient’s condition may change from day to day, resulting in the need for different treatment, diet, or nursing care.
Or, emergencies may occur that make it necessary for the home nurse to modify household routines that affect the care of the patient. The ability to adjust to events and to meet change with calmness and resourcefulness is an essential responsibility of the home nurse. Read complete section: Nursing Care of the Sick at Home
Patient’s Daily Record
One of the essential duties of the home nurse is to keep for the doctor a daily record of the patient’s condition. An intelligent, orderly report of the care given by the home nurse under medical direction helps the doctor to make a diagnosis of the illness, to prescribe for it, and to judge the patient’s progress.
Information on how the patient feels behaves and reacts to the treatment and about what was done for him when it was done, and any other pertinent observations should be included in the daily record.
Family Health Records
Another responsibility of the home nurse is to keep family health records. Basic health facts about an individual member of the family are often needed for various purposes. For example, they are necessary to complete school records, insurance forms, and the family doctor’s medical record.
Family health records should be kept in chronological order, accurately, and up to date if they are to be valuable. They differ from but are related to the patient’s daily record. While the daily record is a detailed report of one illness, the family health records should contain summaries of all illnesses incurred. Read how to become a registered nurse here.