Home health care can provide you with services in the comfort of your own home, these services are generally coordinated by a care agency in Stirling. Some services offered are skilled nursing care, physical and occupational therapy, speech-language pathology services, and medical social services as advised and ordered by your doctor. A home health aide can administer additional services. These may include personal care, some housekeeping, meal preparation, and general health management.
One common thread among those looking to become home health aides is the wish to achieve a home health aide certification. Home health aide certification in Stirling is an important component in achieving work as a HHA as it helps establish authority and experience as well as a minimum standard for the education of the HHA.
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One of the issues that you may have to deal with when working with home health care patients is the problem of caring for an ostomy. An ostomy is a medical device which is installed in the person's abdomen to replace the basic functions usually handled by the genitals or the anus to evacuate waste from the body. In other words, if someone is unable to urinate, they may have had an ostomy installed to allow them to urinate and or defecate. A part of your job will involve helping to care for the ostomy and helping your patient to adjust to living with one.
Why a Patient May Have an Ostomy
The most common reason for a patient to have an ostomy is that they have some kind of injury which has either resulted in the removal of their genitals or their colon. It is also possible for the genitals or colon to cease to function normally and as a result, an ostomy will need to be installed.
How an Ostomy Works
An ostomy is typically a kind of pouch which has been attached surgically to the patient's body to allow them to remove fluids and other waste from the body. This pouch is typically located inside the body while a tube of some form is often attached to the appropriate part of the anatomy to allow the ostomy to be evacuated when it is full.
Types of Ostomies:
Colostomy: Typically installed as a result of the loss of all or a portion of the patient's colon (large intestine).
Ileostomy: Similar to a colostomy, an ileostomy is connected to the small intestine and can also be temporary or permanent.
When working with patients with an ostomy, it's important to be on the lookout for signs of infection. These may include swelling or redness of the area where the tube emerges from the body and or heat or particular skin sensitivity in the area of the ostomy. If such symptoms persist, it's important to contact the attending physician to examine the area of the ostomy to ensure that the patient is being properly cared for.
Other problems which must be looked after regarding an ostomy involve quality of life issues. You will need to be prepared to clean up after an accident with evacuation of the ostomy as well as changing the clothing and or sheets of your patients who are wearing one whenever a problem occurs. Always wear latex gloves when handling the ostomy's valve (tube) and be sure to clean it thoroughly according the manufacturer's instructions.
Pay close attention to how the ostomy valve is opened. If you are not certain of how this is done, be sure to consult the attending physician or your supervisor to find out. Do not take it upon yourself to guess as to how the ostomy works. This can cause damage and or infection if it's not done correctly.
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Oftentimes, as a home health care aide, your job will include helping a patient to prepare food. While the standard rules of food preparation do apply for most of your patients (i.e. following the Food Pyramid), there are also a large number of different modified diets, some of them quite complex that you may need to follow. Here's what you need to know:
Increasing or Decreasing Intake of Certain Foods
The most common type of modified diet simply requires either an increase or a decrease in the intake of certain kinds of foods. For example, a patient suffering from chronic high blood pressure may be advised to decrease the amount of sodium in the diet. This would entail more than leaving the salt shaker in the cupboard. You also need to check the nutrition information on all prepared foods for the total sodium content that they include.
Other times there may be a need to increase intake of certain foods. For example, some patients may need to have in increase in the amount of protein they take in. Again, consulting the nutrition information on prepared foods will be important. It's also important to check on which whole foods include high concentrations of the necessary items (in the case of protein, most lean meats and poultry will be high in protein).
Specific Foods Not Allowed
Other times, you may need to consider that specific foods will either be allowed or not allowed. For example, some patients may require a gluten free diet which means ensuring that all wheat based products are specially prepared to be gluten free.
Chopping Food-When chopping food, you should use a clean knife and a cutting board. Avoid chopping other foods on the same chopping board where raw meat was cut. When handling raw meat, remember that wood cutting boards will absorb the liquids from the meats and so should be avoided.
Keep Things Clean-In all cases, all equipment used to process food for your patients modified diets must be kept absolutely clean. This means for example that you must be careful to wash equipment once you've used it and not allow it to sit and dry.
Storage-If foods that you have mechanically prepared for your patient's modified diets must be stored, be sure to keep them in air tight containers and to make sure that foods are kept fresh by either freezing or refrigerating them rather than simply leaving them in the cupboard.
Prevent Bacteria-Finally, pureed or cooked foods should be served right away or frozen to ensure that bacterial infections cannot form on them. Hot foods should be served while still hot and cold foods should be served cold to ensure that they are safe. Never serve meat which has been left out of refrigeration for more than two hours and be sure to keep dairy products and eggs refrigerated as well.