Monday, May 28, 2012



     They check the iron level also.  Iron is essential for adequate red blood cell formation.
     These blood tests are very meaningful to the doctor, so don’t complain when he wants to draw blood.
     There are many books on the market that give a complete list of side effects for all medications.  It is very helpful to have one when you are caregiving.  I use mine often.
     Giving medications at the proper time is very important in caregiving.  Certain medications must be given with meals, after meals, or on an empty stomach.  Ask questions about all medications to be sure that you are giving them properly.
     I found that a list of the medications and when they should be given is very helpful in organizing the daily intake of all medicines.  I bought a weekly dispenser that had four openings for medication each day.  By putting a week’s worth of medications in a dispenser, you can see if the medicine has been given each part of the day.  It is difficult to remember if you have given your patient their pills or not, especially when you have a dozen or more to give each day.  The dispenser is very helpful
     Another method many find helpful is to have a chart to tell you when to administer the medications.  Then as you give the pills to the patient, you can check off each medication.  This way you know that you have administered them at the proper time, and it helps the doctor as well.
     Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions when you see the doctor.  The more you know about your patient’s condition and the medications they are taking, the better you can care for your loved one.
     It is helpful to have a tray to hold your medicine, and a decanter of water and a glass beside the bed.  Be sure to have napkins close in case of a spill.  If you have liquid medication to give to your patient give a piece of fruit, a cracker, or some ice to help mask the unpleasant taste of the medicine.  When using liquid medication, it is helpful to have little plastic cups that you can measure your medicine in.  You can purchase them at the pharmacy.  They have measurements in ounces or cubic centimeters.  This way the patient does not have to worry about spilling the liquid; it is much easier to take.
     Always check the label on the medication to be sure you are giving it at the proper time and the proper dose.  Have the patient place the medicine on the back of their tongue, take a mouthful of water, tilt their head back, and swallow.  This will help the pill go down easily.  Stay with the patient until the medication is taken.
     Sometimes eye drops are prescribed for your patient, especially after cataract surgery.  Putting drops in the patient’s eye is a treatment ordered by the doctor that can safely be carried out at home.  The first things to do is wash your hands thoroughly.  You don’t want to contaminate your patient’s eye in any way.  Next, have the patient hold as still as possible.  Have the patient lean his head back and look up.  You should pull the lower lid down and drop the eye drops on the inside of the lower lid.  This is easy and fast.  Don’t let the tip of the bottle touch the eye itself.  Most people will probably flinch or squint a little.  Be sure that the patient doesn’t rub or use pressure on the eye after you administer the drug.  Simply pat the face if any medication runs down the cheek.
     Administering medication is simple if you follow the directions.  Be sure to check any medication given to your patient, to be sure it is the proper time and the proper dosage.  Before you begin always wash your hands to keep things as sterile as possible.  Have a routine that you always follow and you will do just fine.

Monday, May 7, 2012


There may be times when you have to use adult diapers on your patient.  This is very disturbing to your patient, so be careful how you approach the subject, as it can have adverse psychological effects.  Before you resort to adult diapers, it may be wise to try bringing the bedpan to the patient at regular times each day, with the hope that it will train them to void at regular intervals.  About every two hours would be a good starting point.  This may help the patient accept his incontinence and work with you to avoid accidents.  The effect on his morale could be favorable.  No one likes to be embarrassed with incontinence.
     Check with your druggist for the adult diapers.  There are a variety of them on the market today.
Help your patients hold on to their dignity.
It may be all they have left.
     Medications have so many side effects.  It is important that you understand the medications given to your patient.  Knowing, how the medicine effects the body is important when you are watching for symptoms in your patient.  If you understand the side effects that each medication has, it is easier to catch problems before they begin.
     My mother-in-law had problems with overdosing on some of her medications.  She didn’t go to the doctor on a regular basis, so it was difficult for him to check the levels of her different medications in her blood.
     We often wonder why the doctor needs to take so much blood, but it is to check the chemical balance in the blood.  Complete blood analysis is important to the doctor, so that he can adjust medications to keep the proper balance in the body.
     For instance, he looks at the potassium level in the blood.  Potassium is an important electrolyte in the body, which regulates nerve heart and muscle function.  It comes from the food we eat; fruit, vegetables, meat, milk and coffee.  If the potassium level is too high, the heart slows and occasionally patients may pass out.  Prior to this, you will notice a sudden loss of strength in the legs and body.  If potassium is too low it may cause weakness, irregular heartbeat, confusion and irritability.
     The doctor will also look at the sodium content of the blood.  Sodium is another electrolyte.  It regulates body fluid levels.  If you use too much sodium in your diet, you will drink a lot of water and you will retain fluid in your tissues.  People with heart conditions must watch their intake of sodium so they don’t retain too much fluid and put a strain on their heart.  If your patient has a heart condition, watch their ankles for any swelling or rapid weight gain.  That may be a sign that they are retaining too much fluid.  You should question this condition with your doctor.  The doctor may increase your patients diuretic.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

     During the aging process, the muscles become weak and there is a chance of the patient becoming incontinent.  When this happens they have very little control over their elimination process. They may wet the bed or become fecal incontinent.  Precautions should be taken when this difficulty becomes apparent.  You can also use a mattress cover to eliminate the possibility of ruining your mattress.  Hospitals use a draw sheet, a sheet that has been folded in half and placed over the main sheet.  They also put a plastic covered pad under the draw sheet to absorb any liquid, in case the patient voids.
     If the patient is a man, be sure to keep a urinal close to the bed.  With incontinent patients, the urge to urinate is great and immediate.  Often there is no time to call the caregiver, so place the urinal where the patient can reach it.
     When your patient is in a hospital bed and you have the head of the bed raised your patient will sometimes slide toward the foot of the bed.  If the patient can’t back up to the proper position, the draw sheet can be used to scoot the patient toward the head of the bed.  When you want to reposition the patient in the bed, have someone help you.  Let the head down flat and each of you grab the draw sheet, put one knee on the bed for leverage, and to save your back, and on the count of three pull the draw sheet toward the head of the bed.  The patient will be repositioned, with little strain on either of you.
     It is important for you, the caregiver, to take care not to injure your back.  You have to stay in good shape to be able to give good care to the patient.  If you hurt yourself, someone else has to take your place while you are getting well and it might get pretty expensive.
     When your patient has had a stroke, their brain may forget to send messages to the parts of their body that let them know they have to have an elimination.  Consequently, it will sneak up on them and they sometimes will have a stain in their undergarment.  If this gets too bad, there are undergarments made for this on the market today.  Ask your druggist about them.  Be sure that you always carry an extra undergarment with you in case of an accident.  It is also good to carry a wet washrag in a plastic bag.  It can save a lot of embarrassment to the patient.
     There is an incontinence cleanser called Proshield Foam and Spray, put out by Healthpoint Medical in San Antonio, Texas.  it is a gentle non-aerosol. no-rinse moisturizing foam and spray cleanser that is ideal for incontinent care.  Since you don’t have to rinse it off, it is perfect for use when you are away from home.  Check with your medical supply store or druggist to see if they carry it.  It is wonderful.