Everybody ages, but the process of aging is different for everyone. An organization offering home health care services cannot rely on a one-size-fits-all solution, as every single patient will have different diagnoses, conditions, capabilities, and needs. Anyone working in home health care must be able to compassionately treat everyone who comes under her care, from someone recovering from injury to someone completely bedbound to someone afflicted with dementia.
At UCLAHHC, our staff treats all our clients with respect, dignity, and cheerfulness. We can help anyone regardless of the complexity of their condition. If you or a loved one could benefit from our services, please contact us and tell us what you need. All of UCLAHHCs staff are dedicated health care workers, devoted to the well-being of our patients, sharing in their victories and their setbacks. The following is only a brief overview of what some of our workers do for our patients.
Wounds distress and limit the lives of people even after they’re discharged from the hospital. Minor wounds are easy to care for alone, but those with more severe injuries need expert guidance and care when recovering. Surgical wounds, burns, traumatic injuries, and infections all should be looked after by professional home health staff.
Not too long ago, people needing intravenous therapy would need to travel to a hospital or clinic to receive treatment. Today, this doesn’t have to be the case. UCLAHHC’s nurses are carefully trained to install and maintain IVs in patients’ homes, reducing uncomfortable hospital visits and helping our patients stay independent and comfortable. We can bring all the necessary equipment and supplies for IV antibiotic treatment and IV hydration therapy right to your home.
There are times when a pill just won’t cut it. Sometimes patients struggle with swallowing, making oral medication difficult to consume. And some medications, such as those used to treat multiple sclerosis, won’t function in the digestive tract and must be injected. For those times, our staff is trained to administer shots quickly and painlessly. Furthermore, some patients can benefit from learning how to self-administer IM injections, and we’re happy to help those patients learn to take care of themselves.
Our speech therapists can help patients in two distinct ways: they help people communicate, and they help people swallow.
In the public mind, speech therapists are strongly associated with young children, whom they help overcome stutters and delayed verbal development. But for aging, injured, or sick people, speech therapists serve a critical role in maintaining health. Any number of physical and mental conditions can affect a person’s ability to speak, and losing the ability to communicate easily is highly distressing, perhaps causing the patient to withdraw entirely from family, friends, and health care workers. Being able to understand a patient’s needs is vital to our work, so our speech therapists are an important part of our team, allowing us all to understand patients’ needs and complaints better. Even if a patient loses the ability to speak entirely, speech therapists are experts in non-oral communication and can give patients strategies and equipment to help make their voices heard.
Our speech therapists, being experts in the structure of the mouth and throat, are uniquely poised to help patients who struggle with swallowing. Mealtime is prime social time in most families, and being able to participate in shared meals helps patients feel sociable and connected with their loved ones.
When someone is injured, the loss of range of motion or the ability to walk can be even more distressing than pain and discomfort. For that reason, home health organizations employ physical therapists, who specialize in restoring movement to injured, sick, and elderly people.
Even simple stretches and exercises can help patients. Combined with medication, an exercise regimen can make pain manageable, and physical conditioning is an important part of recovery. Someone who exercises diligently can expect to recover from injury faster than a redolent patient, and the strength and dexterity that comes from exercise reduces the chance of future misadventures and slows physical decline.
Keeping one’s body strong and in control is not just part of physical health, but mental health, too. Freedom of movement is a major component of independence and self-sufficiency, and our physical therapists know that physical conditioning is a major component of a patient’s recovery.
Our nurses are the keystone in the home health care plan. Nurses are responsible for formulating the plan and ensuring that all the other members of the team, including the patient and her family members, are entirely aware of the contents of the plan. The nurse will alter the plan regularly as the patient’s condition changes and the other team members provide her with new information. Regular team meetings ensure that everybody is on the same page, and the nurse also apprises the patient’s physician about the patient’s development. The physician may write additional prescriptions or make recommendations regarding the patient’s care, and the nurse will see that his orders are followed.
Our nurses also perform a lot of hands-on care with patients. Nurses give injections, administer IVs, draw blood for testing, perform wound care, and so much else besides. To perform these duties, they frequently visit patients in their homes, who come to trust nurses and their expertise.
The nurse is also the first person to consult in a time of crisis. One of our nurses is always available by phone; should the patient deteriorate suddenly or suffer an injury, the on-call nurse will give advice and schedule a visit for as soon as possible to attend to the crisis.
If physical therapists focus on big movements—walking, stretching, leveraging out of bed—then their counterparts, occupational therapists, focus more on fine, small movements. In short, occupational therapists help patients perform many acts of day-to-day living: grasping utensils, working doorknobs and faucets, using remote controls, dressing, flipping through books, and so much else that requires fine motor control. Being able to perform these actions that so many of us take for granted reduces the patient’s dependence on other people and allows her to stay occupied by doing the things she enjoys. Think about how much easier it is to socialize and bond with someone when you can make tea, share a meal, and deal a deck of cards. That is what an occupational therapist offers to her patients: the ability to exist beyond the boundaries of one’s ailment and live as a self-actualized, social human being.
Among home health care services, the most frequent visitor to the home is the home health aide. Several times a week, one of our kind home health aides will visit to help with personal care. Dressing, bathing, eating, taking medication, performing simple medical tasks such as vital monitoring and simple wound care, and whatever else that needs a soft touch from a compassionate helper.
Because they frequently visit homes, home health aides often form bonds with patients, allowing them to talk with someone outside the family. HHAs are often the first to notice if something in the patient’s condition changes and will report their worries to the managing nurse, who will closely scrutinize the patient at her next visit.
Everyone needs a doctor sometimes, but visiting a doctor can be problematic and frustrating. You usually wait ages for an appointment, and when the day comes, you have to bundle into a car regardless of your range of motion, go to the office, and wait some more until the doctor is ready to see you for a brief visit. Thankfully, there’s a better way. UCLAHHC offers concierge physicians, who have much smaller caseloads than doctors in traditional practices, greatly reducing wait times while increasing the time the doctor spends with each patient. They even offer in-home doctor visits for those who need extra-dedicated care.
After pain, breathing problems are the most common medical complaint. A person who struggles to take every breath or coughs uncontrollably has a poor quality of life. But UCLAHHC can help. Armed with extensive knowledge of the respiratory system and the many problems that can afflict it, our respiratory therapists bring medication, equipment, and strengthening exercises to the aid of those struggling to breathe easily. Continual respiratory therapy helps our patients do more and feel positive.
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UCLAHHC’s staff does much more than is listed here; we cannot summarize the complexity of home health care in just a few words, but we have helped people with a wide spectrum of conditions, needs, and complications. If you or someone you know might benefit from dedicated home health care, please contact us and tell us your needs, and we’ll be happy to tell you how we can help.