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Home Health Aide Training - Focus on Accident Prevention

As a home health aide you have a duty in adapting the clients home in such a manner that creates an environment that is calming, safe and supportive.  The home environment should only be changed in a way that makes it possible for those to be as independent as possible.  For those who may have Alzheimer’s disease, physical or mental disabilities, the home health aide may have to make changes to the environment more frequently as the illness may progress.

Changes in the brain that may be caused by or illnesses or disease can have an affect on ones cognitive function. Cognitive function includes a persons memory, their thinking ability, their judgment and their behavior.

Creating a Safe Home Environment
Safety should always be maintained first. When assessing a clients environment the home health aide will need to check for hazards within the home.  Such hazards may include fire, fall hazards, and things that may poison a client such as cleaning solutions.  Supports that provide assistance to clients may use to get around the home will also need to be checked to make sure that they are stable.  All home health aide need to be provided the training to spot such hazards.

The client home should be made suitable for the symptoms of the illness and disease to prevent accidents from occurring. These may include:

Memory loss- Those with memory loss can benefit from having a set routine that they can follow.  A set routine may not work in those who may have advanced Alzheimer’s or other diseases that may have progressed. However, creating an environment  in the early stages of memory loss, whereas the clients belongings are in the same place, medications and meals are given at the same time each day starts creating this routine for the client.

Confusion-Confusion can often lead to agitation.  Its best to evaluate the clients environment to see what is causing the problems that may be adding up to the agitation. Clients who may suffer with dementia can be sensitive to the environment they live in. Some times they may be less able to handle changes. Drastic changes to a client care can be overwhelming to a person with Alzheimer’s disease, and can lead to agitation. Names on doors, large calendars and clocks with large hands can help lessen the confusion in some clients.  The changes that will be needed depends on the client.

Wandering-Wandering falls in line with poor judgment.  The client may not be oriented to time and place. Those who wander cannot tell the difference in what is dangerous or what is safe.  Accidents are at a greater risk for those who wander. From hypothermia to walking out in front of traffic wandering puts a client at a great risk for accidents.  You should always follow the care plan for locking doors and windows.  By keeping your client involved in activities that they once enjoyed, you as the home health aide can help with decreasing the need for wandering.  Sometimes wandering may not have a cause. Sometimes the cause of the wandering can be determined and addressed to prevent wandering from occurring in the first place.

By placing careful attention to the environmental needs and the care of the client, a home health aide can have the ability to prevent accidents within the home environment from occurring. Home health agencies need to have a plan in place to help the home health aide in spotting and addressing the issues that may occur in the home environment when caring for a client.