Learning the basics of bedside care can make taking care of a loved one far easier. The proper tools, resources, and support system is important, as well as taking the right steps to insure comfort, grooming, and emotional and mental care. Consider the following:
1. Comfort: When someone is confined to a bed, it is critical that caregivers do anything they can to improve comfort. A great option is to invest in a bed that can be easily adjusted to the needs and desires of the individual. A hospital bed, while expensive, can help to not only improve comfort, but also health. With the push of a button legs can be elevated, position changed, and comfort achieved.
In addition to a comfortable bed, consider other factors. For example, a bedridden individual may worry about falling out of the bed. Bed rails can provide emotional comfort to them, as well as give them a support handle to hold on to when adjusting or getting out of bed. Bedside organizers can also provide comfort by being an easy to access location for things like the television remote, pain medications, or even lotions and other hygiene items.
As a caregiver, take time to make sure the temperature is pleasant, the lighting is pleasant, and that your loved one feels as comfortable as possible.
2. Grooming and hygiene: Grooming and hygiene are a critical component in bedside care. Bedridden individuals still need to be bathed, changed, and groomed. Look for tools such as hair shampooers to help make grooming and hygiene easier.
Many bedridden individuals can’t get up to use the bathroom, and must rely on incontinence products and urinals to manage their bladder and bowels. Adult diapers, bed pans, and other absorbent products can be very useful. Consider skin care as well, as prolonged exposure to urine and feces can cause damage and breakdown to the skin. Also, consider purchasing bed pads which offer protection for the mattress in case of leaks.
3. Emotional and mental care: This is something that should be considered basic bedside care, as it is a big part of health. When someone is bedridden, they are dependent on others for all of their basic needs and care. This can take a mental and emotional toll. This often exhibits itself as restlessness, agitation, irritation, and frustration, and leaves caregivers feeling underappreciated and just as frustrated. Caregivers should remember that the emotional health of their loved ones is a serious concern, and not something to be overlooked. Take time each day to address mental and emotional health. Talk to your loved one about things other than their care, and help them find ways to overcome the restlessness and frustration.
About R.O.S Therapy Systems: R.O.S. Therapy Systems began as a backyard project in 2010. Scott Silknitter was searching for tools to help his mother care for his father, Roger Owen Silknitter, during a 25-year fight with Parkinson’s disease and dementia. That project became a personal mission to help all family caregivers. From family caregiver training and activity books to mobile apps to activity systems, R.O.S. has grown to become a single-source provider of informational “how to’s” and a growing provider of adaptive tools for the millions of husbands, wives, children, and family members that become caregivers.
Common sense advice and instruction based on proven principles of communication, engagement, and daily living are the heart of everything R.O.S. offers for family caregivers. Improving quality of life for caregivers is our mission, and designing everything for a family caregiver struggling with a loved one is the starting point. Whether it is dementia, diabetes, Parkinson’s, ALS, stroke, visual impairment, developmental disabilities, or any other issue that forces someone to care for a loved one, R.O.S. and its Caregiving 101 program are here to help.