Individualized care is a common method that personal support workers (PSWs) use to provide care to patients. This technique focuses on patients as individuals, and steers PSWs away from simply completing the mandatory tasks required of them. Professional PSWs know that individualized care involves putting patients and their families first, and considering their valuable feedback when making important decisions—like choosing the best ways to provide care, for example. It also means that PSWs should consider their patients’ values, backgrounds, family situations, lifestyles, and social circumstances in order to best work with them in developing appropriate and rewarding solutions.
Because individualized care has to be applied to the needs of different individuals, it cannot be defined in a single way. If you’re planning to pursue a personal support worker career, read on to learn how you can incorporate more of an individualized approach once you break into the field.
Personal Support Worker Training Teaches Students to Get to Know Patients
The basic philosophy behind individualized care is that everybody matters. Once you begin your career, after completing your personal support worker training, it’ll be important to take the time to get to know each individual you care for. When providing home care, the early stages of patient relationships are an excellent time to better connect with them.
PSWs are often required to help patients with meal preparation. When planning meals with your patients, ask them what some of their favorite dishes are. Perhaps they enjoy certain foods that you don’t necessarily know how to prepare. If this is the case, you might ask them to share some of their family recipes with you. If you take the extra steps needed to prepare a meal that your patients will enjoy, not only will you be providing good individualized care, but you will also be learning something new!
Connecting with people could be as simple as learning all about their favorite foods.
Always try to keep conversations going during your visits. Whether you’re helping patients with bathing and grooming, or helping them take their medication for the day, speak to them as though you are getting to know a new friend. Ask them about their interests, families and friends. Talking with your patients rather than at them will set a warm tone, which can help you both look forward to your visits together.
Personal Support Worker Courses Teach Students to Make Many Connections
Another great way to get to know patients better is to connect with their immediate circle. Earning your personal support worker diploma will make you an important part of a health care team. Therefore, speaking with doctors, pharmacists, and other health care professionals can give you some tremendous insight into how to provide individualized care.
Does your patient have any medical conditions that cause physical discomfort? Does their medication have any side-effects that would make them need more rest? Obtaining answers from health practitioners can really help you fine-tune your approach for your following visits.
Family members also know the story of their beloved relative’s medical history, personal preferences, moods, habits and more. Gathering bits of information about patients from family members can broaden your understanding of patients and help them feel confident that they are in good hands.
A personal support worker is responsible for the well-being of someone who is no longer able to care for themselves. Upon completing your PSW courses, this kind of responsibility may seem overwhelming; however, ensuring the proper care of others can be an extremely rewarding experience. Being a PSW is a unique line of health care work, because the bond you form with your patients is able to grow and flourish over time. Often, you will become one of their dearest friends.
A personal support worker also has the responsibility of being aware of the dangers facing their patients. Some of these dangers can come from seemingly innocuous objects around the house, which can easily be safeguarded. Other times, the threats come from other family members in the form of abuse or neglect. In any case, your personal support worker training will help you recognize these dangers in order to provide the utmost safety and wellbeing for your clients.
Dangers Around the House
The most common household injuries are caused by falling down the stairs. For patients who may be suffering memory loss, injuries on the stairs can happen for reasons as simple as forgetting the way to the bathroom at night. A PSW may suggest that a patient install night lights in their hallways to avoid such incidences.
A common danger for those with restricted mobility is slippery floors. This could be an oil spill in the kitchen or a slippery bathtub. To keep a patient safe, a PSW should make sure the house is kept clean, and suggest that the patient have railings installed in the shower, paired with a safety-grip shower mat.
It’s important to note that elderly abuse can come in many forms, be it physical, psychological or sexual. There are certain telling symptoms a PSW will be able to recognize as a result of their personal support worker courses. If you notice inexplicable scars, bruises or other injuries on your patient, they may be suffering physical abuse by someone close to them.
Sometimes, the elderly patient may not be able to remember who caused the injuries. In other instances, they are hiding the truth to protect a loved one who may be suffering from mental or psychological distress. If a patient’s family refuses to see you alone, this could also be an indication of problems.
Psychological symptoms of abuse may be harder to recognize. If a PSW witnesses a relative speaking sternly or cruelly to the patient, it may be necessary to speak to them about their behaviour. If it is clear this is an ongoing pattern, a personal support worker should look for ways to assist the patient and remove them from the situation.
A wealthy patient whose mind may be slipping into dementia can be taken advantage of by family or friends. Unexplained withdrawals of money or suddenly missing valuables may be a sign that the patient’s condition is being taken advantage of. While these instances are rare, it can be necessary for the PSW to step up in these situations, as the patient may be unable to themselves.
Do you know any other ways a PSW can keep help maintain a patient’s safety?
Healthcare is in a state of constant change. We are perpetually looking to solve the world’s health problems through new and innovative procedures, equipment, drugs, antibiotics and much more. Because of our reluctance to settle for the care and cures that we have, healthcare will always be in a state of constant change and improvement. This means that as years go on, trends begin to emerge within the medical climate. 2014 is barely through the first quarter and already we’ve seen some very surprising and exceptional medical trends start to pop up. These are just a few of the more exciting ones.
2014 has seen a large amount of attention drawn to how we can improve the processes with which we handle chronic care for patients with long term disabilities and terminal illnesses. Chronic care has always been a notoriously tricky area of healthcare, and organizations are looking to improve many aspects of how it’s handled. One idea that an increasing number of healthcare providers are suggesting is the use of Ambulatory Intensive Care Units or “A-ICUs,” which are intensive care units that are mobile and able to meet the needs of the patient in home. This will also mean a rise in the number of people interested in taking a personal support worker course, in order to meet the rising demand for more in-home care workers.
They are most commonly found as modified ambulances and healthcare providers hope that they will be able to better meet behavioral health and chronic care needs with them, increasing the amount of beds in hospitals and lowering the length of stay and readmission rate. Medical office assistant training numbers have also increased dramatically because of the rise in paperwork and bureaucracy involved with increasing chronic care.
Better On the Job Health
An increasingly large number of companies are now offering incentives for healthier behaviour in employees, as well as penalties for unhealthy behaviors or non-compliance. This includes giving employees free pedometers to monitor their activity, or subscriptions to health and wellness websites like iFit. Staying healthy can lead to benefits like discounts or gift cards, paid leave and more. There are even some corporations like Hollywood Casinos that have a hiring ban on employees who test positive for nicotine.
Companies are pushing hard for better employee health, mostly as a way to curb their costs on increasingly expensive healthcare plans for employees. Who knows, maybe in a few years it won’t matter if you took accounting courses, you might not be able to get a job simply because you smoke. While it’s an inventive system, many employees or potential hires are sure to get miffed about being penalized for personal choices. While it may not be a terribly popular way to cut costs, at least according to skeptics, it’s certainly an inventive one, and it’s definitely going to inspire people to head to the gym after work instead of the bar.
Healthcare is a continuously changing field, and these are just some of the more interesting changes we’re seeing so far in 2014. However, there’s much more to come, so keep your eyes peeled!