What is at home care?
Home care, also known as domiciliary care, provides vital support to people with long term needs, enabling them to live independently in their own home. For many, managing at home is made easier and safer by receiving regular visits from a carer, who may support with the provision of personal care tasks such as washing, dressing, eating or other activities which supports individuals in retaining daily routines and dignity.
Research by the London School of Economics, estimates that more than 350,000 older people in England used home care services in a recent study, with a further 76,300 younger people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, or mental health problems accessing similar services.
With predictions that the global demand for healthcare workers will double by 2030, resulting in a shortage of 15 million health workers, it's no surprise that home care is also often carried out by loved ones or family members rather than professional caregivers and community nurses.
Why is home care important?
Statistics and projections produced by Office for National Statistics (ONS) have long shown that the UK’s population is ageing. The latest projections show that in 50 years’ time, there are likely to be an additional 8.6 million people aged 65 years and over.
NHS England highlight that “As people live longer lives the NHS needs to adapt to their needs, helping frail and older people stay healthy and independent, avoiding hospital stays where possible.”
The NHS Five Year Forward View called for better integration of GP, community health, mental health and hospital services, as well as more conjoined working with home care and care homes, which will in turn improve prevention and care for patients.
How can personal care at home be improved?
1) Bed Bathing
Maintaining good personal hygiene is an essential part of long-term care at home, but for those who need assistance with bathing, the activity can be both physically and emotionally demanding. Research has identified several contributing factors, including: pain; fatigue and weakness; confusion; anxiety (resulting from being naked in front of strangers); being afraid of falling; being in a noisy or unfamiliar place and discomfort from cold or drafty bathing areas or harsh water sprays.
Providing choice when it comes to bathing and empowering individuals to care for themselves wherever possible, is fast becoming a key topic of conversation in the shift towards patient-centered care. The Alzheimer's Society, a UK research charity for people with dementia and their carers, suggest “Involve the person in decisions around washing - Giving them a simple choice of two options can help.”
Oasis provides a comfortable, therapeutic bed bathing solution without the issues associated with soap and water. The large washcloths (which contain a unique combination of cleansers and moisturisers) are specifically designed for bed bound patients, and help to eliminate the fatigue and anxiety sometimes associated with showering or bathing.
2) Continence Care
Many studies have found that incontinence affects around 300 million people worldwide, around 5% of the population. With some individuals rendered incontinent because of physical, psychological or cognitive factors, a focus on assisted toileting in domiciliary care is crucial.
According to the RCN, A full assessment may identify toileting aids and equipment such as urinals, handrails, commodes and removable clothing that can support an individual to retain a level of independence. For others using a pad or requesting a catheter is an appropriate method.
Skin care is a cornerstone of nursing, but often overlooked. Skin provides a natural barrier function, however over-exposure to urine and faeces can change the natural pH level of the skin; making it alkaline, which in turn may cause the skin to become red and breakdown. This is often referred to as Incontinence Associated Dermatitis (IAD). Many research studies highlight the importance of IAD prevention through three very simple steps… cleansing, moisturising, and protecting the skin.
Vernacare provide a range of Intelligent skin care solutions designed to minimise the risk of IAD and supporting skin recovery, whilst also being suitable for toilet disposal in the home.
Conti Barrier Cloth is specifically designed to deliver intelligent skincare. The all-in-one, wipe provides cleansing and barrier protection, without the need for additional moisturizers or creams.
Clinisan™ Skin Cleansing Foam, a convenient gentle and effective cleansing system for continence care. Ideal for use with bariatric patients or patients with urinary and/or faecal incontinence.