Caring for an ICU patient at home can be quite a demanding task, not only for the entire family but also for the person who is receiving the care.
Often, you may feel that you do not have all the tools at home, or may feel angry and frustrated while caring for your loved one. If you are looking after someone at home who is in need of ICU care, the following tips can help.
5 Important Things To Remember While Caring For An ICU Patient At Home
- Keep Your Volume Low When in the ICU, your loved one will most likely be put on a ventilator. As a result, you may feel that you need to speak loudly so that your voice is clear and audible. However, please keep your voice low as the patient will be able to hear you very clearly as long as he or she is in their senses. In fact, speaking in a very loud tone can be harmful.
- Stay Calm, Even When You May Feel Angry Or Frustrated It is natural for you to feel overburdened and angry at the situation, or you may feel depressed and frustrated at not being able to speed up your loved one’s recovery process. Please remember that unless you are in the right frame of mind and are positive and happy yourself, you will not be able to help your loved one in the best capacity that you can. Try to take some time off for yourself. Hire a professional caregiver and be around to supervise, without looking into everything yourself. Try using relaxing methods such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing or even ASMR.
- Keep The Surrounding Exceptionally Clean One of the biggest requirements you have to provide for when caring for an ICU patient at home is to make sure that the surrounding is absolutely clean and sterile. While in the ICU, a patient is at a high risk of picking up infection that can come from even the tiniest source of uncleanliness. Speak to the care staff at home or the ones at the hospital at the time of discharge about what all you need to keep in mind when cleaning the surrounding.
- Make Sure To Regularly CommunicateKeep speaking to the patient regularly to help them understand what is going on and how the various tools and treatment is helping. Often, a patient can get stressed and depressed in such an environment, and telling them about their progress is a good way to keep them feeling motivated and positive. Talk to your loved one and explain about everything. If a new procedure is going to happen, or a new device is to be used, speak about it beforehand, saying something such as “We are going to use so-and-so method”. It will help in so-and-so way. It is not going to hurt, but may cause a little discomfort or something similar to make the process clear.
- Use Signal Boards For Ease Of Communication One tool that can help the patient communicate back with you is a signal board. Most ICUs in the hospitals have signal boards that allow the patient to communicate effectively in case of any discomfort or need. The staff can help to make the same for patients who are to receive ICU care at home, so make sure you ask for it. Alternatively, if the patient is able to write small words, you can use a white board and help the patient write out words when required to signal something. Also, you can write down key words instead, such as pain,uncomfortable and so on, and let them point to the word they are looking for.
Tips to Remember:
- Use small sentences and phrases to make the patient understand easily
- The patient may be frustrated and not ready to communicate. Do not give up or force it
- Read out from favourite books that your loved one likes
- Tell the patient about the day and date, and keep them up to date with the outside world
- Do not show pity or cry in front of the patient
- Tell them about other family members and how everyone else is doing. Keep them updated about kids, parents, spouse, siblings and such
At Care24, we offer specialized and personalized services for looking after ICU patients at home. You can get in touch with our staff to book an appointment.