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Healthy Blood Pressure: Helping Your Clients Address Hypertension During Your PSW Career

2018-05-02 by NAHB

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Unhealthy habits are difficult to turn around, especially if they’re already having an impact on physical wellbeing. Exercise and a good diet are important for people of all ages, and a personal support worker (PSW) knows the importance of those habits, especially later on in a client’s life. When it comes to managing hypertension (high blood pressure), lifestyle changes can make a big difference.

It’s estimated that one out of every five Canadians lives with hypertension, and it’s particularly common among older adults. It’s regarded as a silent killer because it has no symptoms, but high blood pressure can eventually lead to serious conditions like heart attack, stroke, or coronary artery disease. May is Hypertension Awareness Month, so it’s the perfect time to take on board some tips to address this health problem.

Blood Pressure Readings Should Be Carried Out Regularly

Home blood pressure monitors are quite common, and regularly taking measurements can be a good idea. The cuffs with this equipment should be appropriately sized for the client to ensure that an accurate reading is taken.

A healthy blood pressure range is usually seen as 120/80. The first figure refers to Systolic Pressure—the pressure in arteries when the heart beats. The second figure measures Diastolic Pressure—the pressure in arteries between heartbeats. Both figures record in millimeters of mercury and higher figures mean increased blood pressure levels.

Clients should avoid food, exercise, caffeine, or smoking for one hour before blood pressure readings are taken in both arms. That’s because these activities could lead to an inaccurate reading where problems are left unidentified.

Grads of Personal Support Worker Courses Can Help Clients With Diet and Exercise

The diet needed to combat high blood pressure follows an almost identical pattern to a regular healthy diet. DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is seen as a helpful guide, and it seeks to limit the consumption of saturated and total fats like dairy and meat products. Salt also contributes to high blood pressure. As you assist your clients during mealtimes throughout your PSW career, you should be mindful about this and limit the amount of salt included in meals.

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A healthy diet can make all the difference for clients with hypertension

Potassium, magnesium, and calcium are seen as the three key elements of a healthy diet aimed at reducing hypertension. These elements are more prevalent in vegetarian diets, so fruit and vegetables should be increased in your client’s diet. Low-fat dairy products—which are a terrific source of calcium—are also promoted as well as brown rice, potatoes, and tomatoes—which are high in magnesium.

Maintaining a healthy weight lowers blood pressure, so exercise should be encouraged too. For older clients, this could mean walking a bit more during the day or participating in an age-appropriate exercise class. Chair exercises are a great form of exercise for people who have difficulty with mobility, and can easily be worked into a daily routine.

Making Sure That Clients Take Blood Pressure Medication at the Right Times

Dietary and lifestyle change may not be enough to adequately reduce hypertension levels. For some clients, their doctor may have had to prescribe medication. There are three main groups of blood pressure medication. Thiazidediuretics target the kidneys by eliminating salt and water, Beta Blockers slow down the heartbeat, while ACE inhibitors ease pressure by opening up blood vessels. Professionals with a personal support worker certificate know it’s important to follow the doctor’s advice and ensure clients are taking their medication at the right time.

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Help your clients take their medications regularly

Dietary supplements may also be seen as an easier way to achieve a balanced diet. If a doctor has recommended these as well, ensuring that clients regularly take them will help to improve their health and prevent further problems form arising.

Personal support worker courses are the first step on the path to a range of rewarding careers.

Check out what’s on offer at the National Academy of Health and Business!

Helping Seniors Feel Less Isolated: How You Can Make a Difference During Your PSW Career

2018-04-11 by NAHB

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Isolation is real problem that affects 28 per cent of seniors aged 65 and older, most living alone without a spouse or family member. Seniors often become isolated because of uncontrollable external factors, such as disability, the death of a family member, or retirement. Studies have shown that social isolation among seniors can increase the risk of death, poor physical and mental health, and impaired mobility. Isolated seniors are also at a higher risk of being the victims of elder abuse as well as long-term illnesses such as depression, dementia, chronic lung disease, and arthritis.

Thankfully, there is a way for compassionate individuals to contribute to ending isolation among seniors, and enhancing the quality of their care. Students pursuing a career as a Personal Support Worker (PSW) can reduce feelings of isolation, helping their clients feel included as valued members of their communities.

Here are some of the ways a career as a PSW can help you prevent isolation among seniors.

PSW Training Can Teach You How to Address the Individual Needs of Each Client

Being able to assess and adapt your care to the needs of each individual client will be an important part of your PSW career. For example, clients who experience anxiety or depression may require more mental stimulation or encouragement to join in a group activity. Some may even benefit from having a pet, or from regular visits by therapy animals.

Being able to properly attend to each client’s unique requirements can make all the difference. It’s why top schools like the National Academy of Health and Business (NAHB) include courses dedicated to the individuality of the patient. Throughout your career, your ability to help each client in the way that best addresses their unique challenges and concerns can help them break free from feelings of isolation.

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Knowing each client’s specific needs can help PSWs enhance care

PSW Training Also Prepares You to Meet the Specific Safety Needs of Clients

Another important issue for many seniors suffering from isolation is safety. Isolated seniors may have more difficulty maintaining an adequate diet or getting enough physical activity. For some, vision loss can also make them more prone to tripping and other accidents. This can present a dangerous problem. Seniors may experience a fall or other safety problem, which can have serious consequences on their health. In addition, an accident can further isolate a senior, as it can reduce their mobility and make it more difficult for them to leave the house or engage in activities.

Fortunately, professionals with PSW training have a clear, complete, and grounded understanding of safety standards, such as general techniques for assisting a senior with their mobility, medication assistance, and CPR/ first aide. Each of these skills can help you ensure that your clients stay safe, even when they may have a smaller support network of friends and family to rely on.

PSWs Can Help Seniors Just by Being There

For many seniors, a visit from their PSW can be the highlight of their day. A friendly, compassionate, and engaged PSW can create a social environment that keeps seniors feeling connected to those around them. Asking a client about their day, remembering their hobbies and interests, and enjoying friendly conversations together can all help to build connection and reduce isolation.

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A friendly and compassionate PSW can have a positive impact

For this reason, communication is an essential skill students learn to develop during their training. For example, at NAHB students learn to develop their interpersonal skills, and even get to practice these skills in a real work setting through practical placements. As a result, students graduate knowing how to best connect with their clients. For many, it can be one of the most rewarding aspects of this career path.

Are you ready to contribute to enhancing the quality of care for seniors?

Earn your certification by enrolling in personal support worker courses at the National Academy of Health and Business!

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