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Control the Spread of Infection with These Isolation Precautions

Phoenix senior care

The Phoenix senior care professionals share important information on isolation precautions.

Most of us are familiar with standard precautions when caring for a sick loved one – the minimum infection prevention practices that should be used in the care of all patients, all of the time. These practices are designed to protect both the caregiver and others from the spread of infection.Standard precautions such as good hand washing before and after caring for a patient, are the “common sense” infection control guidelines caregivers follow as they perform daily tasks with their patients, and they apply to all patients receiving care, no matter their diagnosis.

Caregivers should also assume that all blood, body fluids, secretions, open wounds and mucous membranes contain an infection, and use:

  • Gloves as needed to protect hands
  • Gowns as needed to protect skin and clothing
  • Masks as needed to protect the nose and mouth

Isolation precautions are a step up from standard precautions, and are implemented for those germs that are highly contagious. Isolation precautions help stop the spread of germs from one person to another and create barriers between people and germs. Different types of isolation precautions protect against different types of germs.

There are three types of isolation precautions, depending upon the type of germ:

  • Contact
  • Airborne
  • Droplet

The patient’s physician or healthcare worker will instruct you on which type of precaution must be taken. A posting outside the patient’s room will instruct all caregivers and visitors on the details listed below. All caregivers and visitors need to follow these guidelines.

CONTACT PRECAUTIONS

Diseases that are spread by contact transmission are spread by people directly or indirectly touching the germ. If your loved one is on contact precautions, it means gloves and gowns must be worn for all contact with the patient.

For Contact Precautions:

  • Caregivers will also follow standard precautions.
  • Patients should be in a room apart from other people who are not infected.
  • Expect all people who come in contact with the patient to wear a gown and gloves.
  • Gowns and gloves will be disposed of just before the caregiver leaves the area.
  • Personal items, such as vital sign equipment, phones, computers, etc. will not be brought into the patient’s room.
  • All equipment the caregivers use will be disinfected.

AIRBORNE PRECAUTIONS

Some diseases are known to be spread through the air. This means that the germs that cause these diseases are so tiny that they can float into the air for long periods of time. These germs can also “catch a ride” on dust particles, traveling wherever the dust particles go. Airborne diseases are very contagious since the germs can travel a long way and be breathed in by many people.

For Airborne Precautions:

  • Caregivers will also follow standard precautions.
  • Patients should be in a room apart from others who are not infected.
  • The door to the room must be kept closed.
  • Masks must be worn by anyone who enters the room.
  • Special respirator masks will be worn for some diseases like tuberculosis.
  • Patients should cover their nose and mouth with a tissue or the inside of the elbow when coughing or sneezing.
  • Patients should use a surgical mask if they are around uninfected people for short periods of time.
  • Patients should avoid going anywhere unless absolutely necessary.

DROPLET PRECAUTIONS

Some diseases are spread through droplet transmission. These germs fly through the air, but are too heavy to float and drop quickly, usually traveling no more than three feet. These diseases are commonly spread during coughing, sneezing and talking.

For Droplet Precautions:

  • Caregivers will also follow standard precautions.
  • Patients should be in a room apart from others who are not infected.
  • Caregivers will wear a surgical mask when working within three feet of the patient.
  • Patients will wear a surgical mask if they need to be around uninfected people for short periods of time.
  • The patient should avoid going anywhere unless absolutely necessary.

At Nightingale Homecare, our Phoenix senior care team is fully trained and experienced in infection prevention. Contact us to learn more about our in-home care services for seniors and for more tips and resources on helping improve quality of life, health and overall wellbeing for your senior loved ones.

Making Sense of Medicare Requirements for Home Care

home care Phoenix AZ

Receiving care in your home is often preferred over going to a facility to recover from a surgery or illness. It can not only be comforting to be in your own home while you recover, but it is also often necessary. If you have Medicare or another form of insurance, there may be questions you have about what your plan will cover. In order for Medicare or other insurance policies to cover home health care, there are generally four requirements that must be met.

  1. Care must be ordered and overseen by a physician.
  2. The individual must have been seen by a physician for the condition requiring home care no more than 90 days prior to the start of home care services or no later than 30 days after the start of home care services.
  3. The individual must be “homebound,” meaning that leaving the home to receive care is unsafe, requires the assistance of other people and/or requires considerable and taxing effort.
  4. The care needed is “skilled” and not “custodial”.

Skilled care is care that can only be delivered by a trained professional, such as the home health care professionals at Nightingale Homecare. For example, skilled care can include care for a complicated wound, or the development of a home exercise program to be implemented after a hip replacement.

Custodial care is care that can be provided by a non-professional. Generally, it is the help given to an individual to allow him or her to complete daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, preparing meals, eating, using the toilet, walking, etc. This type of care is not provided with the goal of helping someone heal from an illness or injury. It is provided to make sure daily activities are completed safely. While Medicare will cover custodial care given by a home health aide during the time that someone is receiving skilled care, ongoing custodial care is not paid for by Medicare.

The Arizona Department of Health Services can be a helpful resource for questions about what Medicare covers.

Many individuals require greater assistance than Medicare or other insurance providers will cover under the home health care benefit. They may need someone to be with them round-the-clock while they recover from an illness, or they may need care for a longer period of time than Medicare will cover – perhaps even until the end of life. In these cases, individuals usually utilize long-term care insurance policies to meet custodial care needs, or they pay privately for this type of care. For many seniors, the unlimited options provided by home care services is more preferable than going into the unfamiliar surroundings of an elder care community or facility.

If you’d like to explore senior care options for yourself or a loved one, the professional in-home care team at Nightingale Homecare is here to help you determine the best care solution for your specific circumstances. Providers of the highest quality home care Phoenix, AZ has to offer, Nightingale Homecare offers a full range of care – from custodial care to highly skilled nursing care and therapy services. Contact us at (602) 504-1555 to learn more.

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The Role of Your Home Health Care Team

senior care Phoenix

Discover the roles of each home health care team member.

You may have questions about the home health care professionals sent to your senior loved one’s home and the role that each one plays in his or her recovery. While not every senior will receive every type of service, allhome care professional services are ordered by the doctor who is overseeing care at home, and all professional home visitors will be in close communication with each other and with the doctor. Nightingale Homecare, providers of the top rated senior care Phoenix AZ families need, breaks down the details on each of the types of home health care professionals who may visit your senior loved one:

What is the role of the nurse?

If a registered nurse is involved in your loved one’s care, you can expect him/her to do a thorough review of any medications the senior is on, and provide instruction regarding those medications. If necessary, the nurse might organize medications in a medication cassette or “pill box” to make it easier to keep things straight. Nurses will also monitor and treat any wounds, change wound dressings if necessary, administer intravenous (IV) medications or certain injections, change catheters, help manage pain, and evaluate vital signs and disease symptoms. The RN will also teach the senior and family members how to provide self-care. Nurses play a big role in helping provide understanding of specific illnesses and how to best manage these illnesses to prevent hospitalizations.

What is the role of the physical therapist?

If a physical therapist is part of your senior loved one’s home health care team, she/he will evaluate how the senior is moving and functioning in the home and develop an exercise program designed specifically to help the senior regain mobility and function. Physical therapists can work on strength, mobility, balance and coordination. They also play a big role in looking at the home environment and making recommendations to prevent falls and injuries. They make sure the senior is using the correct mobility equipment, such as walkers or canes, and that the way the senior is moving around is safe. They teach both the senior and his or her caregivers how to safely transfer if help is needed in going between the bed and a chair. Therapists are also required to check vital signs to make sure the senior is well enough to receive therapy.

What is the role of the occupational therapist?

The occupational therapist will evaluate how the senior is doing with activities of daily living, such as bathing, getting dressed, getting meals and tending to the home. They take a close look at how any problems with movement, muscle weakness, sensation, vision, hearing, breathing and thinking might be affecting activities of daily living. They have a lot of knowledge about special devices that can make activities of daily living easier for those experiencing challenges. They also make recommendations for how minor changes at home, such as moving things around, can make activities of daily living manageable.

What is the role of the speech therapist?

A speech therapist will focus on problems the senior may be having with memory, problem solving, swallowing, speaking, and/or understanding speech. She/he will develop a personalized plan to address specific problems in these areas.
What is the role of the social worker? The social worker will evaluate whether there are any community programs or services that could assist the senior with any physical, financial or emotional challenges. Social workers are skilled at helping people cope with stress and improve difficult family situations. They are also very knowledgeable about different types of housing and how much support is available in different housing environments. They are available to help in figuring out how to plan for the future needs of someone whose health is declining.

What is the role of the dietician?

A dietician will look closely at the senior’s medical diagnosis, eating patterns and nutritional status. She/he will develop an eating plan that works for the senior and that follows any medical instructions. She/he will also help with planning meals and provide tips for shopping and cooking. Sometimes dieticians are called in to work with patients who have severe issues with weight gain or weight loss, diseases that affect their nutritional status or dietary needs, and patients that have to be fed through a tube.

What is the role of the home health aide?

Home health aides work under the strict direction of the nurse or therapist, following a care plan that is developed by the professionals involved in the senior’s care. She/he will help with personal care, such as bathing/showering and getting dressed and ready for the day. The home health aide can also tidy up after providing personal care and help with any exercises that the therapist has ordered. Home health aide visits are limited to the amount of time it takes to provide personal care services. Home health aide visits usually are provided one to three times a week, depending on each individual’s circumstances.  The number of visits your senior loved one receives is determined by Medicare criteria and will be explained by the nurse or therapist. If the senior needs more help than what the home health aide can provide under Medicare guidelines, Nightingale will be happy to talk with you about options to consider. We are experts with in-home supportive care services and have helped many people that are having difficulty managing at home.

We’d love to talk with you to share more details on how our full team of home health care professionals can work together to keep your senior loved one safe, healthy and thriving at home. As the top providers of senior care Phoenix AZ families rely on, Nightingale Homecare is here for you! Call us at (602) 504-1555 to learn more.

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Prevent the Spread of Germs with These Handwashing Hygiene Tips

Prevent the spread of germs with these tips from the best senior caregivers at Nightingale.

Being in close personal contact with our senior loved ones is all part of providing care for them, but it also increases the risk of sharing bacteria and viruses. At Nightingale Homecare, we’re dedicated to keeping seniors safe, healthy and well by doing our best to prevent the spread of germs, and the best way to accomplish this is through effective handwashing techniques. As elementary as it may seem, keeping hands clean through good handwashing hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to keep our senior loved ones – and ourselves – from getting sick, as so many diseases and conditions are spread simply through unwashed hands. As a leading home care Phoenix, AZ agency, we’re pleased to share our top handwashing tips.

When to Wash Your Hands

  • Before and after caring for someone who is ill or presumed ill
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • Before, during, and after preparing a meal
  • Before eating
  • Before and after wearing gloves
  • Before and after caring for a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After touching an animal, feeding an animal or tending to animal waste
  • After touching garbage

How to Wash Your Hands

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

When You Don’t Have Soap and Water

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs on them in most situations. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs and might not remove harmful chemicals. Hand sanitizers are not as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.

How to Use Hand Sanitizers

  • Apply the product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.

Want more tips to help prevent the spread of germs, or additional resources related to providing the highest quality level of care for your senior loved ones? Call on the home care Phoenix, AZproviders at Nightingale Homecare! We’re always happy to help families improve quality of life for the seniors they love and offer a full range of personalized in-home care services to ensure older adults can safely age in place where they’re most comfortable: at home. Call us at (602) 504-1555 any time to learn more.

Enhance Senior Safety in the Bathroom with These Tips

Surprise home care

Nightingale’s Surprise home care experts offer tips on how to enhance senior safety at home.

Bathrooms can be a scary place for the elderly, especially those at risk for falls. Getting in and out of a slippery tub can be physically challenging and pose a high risk of injury. Additionally, your loved one may struggle to safely get on and off of the toilet. Navigating a small space that is often wet or cluttered can put your loved one at further risk. Arthritis, old fractures or other issues with joints and the back can complicate these simple tasks even more.

However, all it takes is just a few preventative measures to turn your loved one’s bathroom into a safe place while reducing the risk of falls and injury. The Surprise home health care team at Nightingale Homecare outlines the following steps to improved safety:

  • Non-slip suction mats or rubber silicone appliqués in and around the tub are an excellent way to reduce the risk of injuries. To ensure a safe transfer, place one mat on the tub’s bottom prior to the bath, and one outside the tub for stepping out onto.
  • Shower chairs, placed inside the tub or shower, can also ensure more secure bath mobility. Make sure the shower chair has non-slip rubber tips for maximum safety.
  • Grab bars provide additional support for getting in and out of bathtubs, or for raising and lowering the body once in the water. Place institutional-grade stainless steel bars all around the tub: a vertical U-shaped bar above the faucet assists in entering and exiting the tub, while a horizontal bar at the foot end and on the back wall allow the bather to safely get in and out of a seated position. Installation of a steel bar by the toilet can also provide stability and leverage. Towel bars should never be used as support bars as they are not sturdy enough to hold the pressure and weight needed to adequately support your loved one, and may cause further injury.
  • Providing your loved one with a raised toilet seat that elevates the toiled 5 – 7 inches can make all the difference. Some options are available with handlebars that improve the ease of getting on and off the toilet even more.
  • Avoid using a mat in the bathroom outside of getting in and out of the tub or shower. When used, look for mats with suction tips and remove them after use. Mats and rugs can be a tripping hazard and lead to falls and injury.
  • Ensure floors are clean and dry and free from clutter. This can go a long way in improving safety in the bathroom.

To ensure all possible safety measures are in place, look to Nightingale Homecare to provide a professional occupational therapy evaluation and fall risk assessment. We’re also on hand to provide a helping hand in the bathroom, always with the utmost respect and dignity, to improve safety even further, as well as a wide range of customized Surprise home health care services.

Contact us any time at (602) 504-1555 for additional resources or to schedule a free in-home assessment and help keep your senior loved ones safe and secure!