Role of a nurse in elderly home care

A team approach to Elderly home care

Elderly home care at Life Circle, strive to offer good quality. The caregiving team at Life Circle includes caregivers and nurses. Caregivers are a cadre of workers who have generally studied up to class VIII. Some may have studied till class XII. They would have then undergone a 3-6-month skills training course through a Government-of-India-accredited training institution.

Caregivers are generally the ones that are with the senior or at the senior’s bedside. We see a need to guide, educate and support them to help them build specific knowledge, skills and attitude to impart elderly care. Life Circle’s Nurse Managers play the role of mentors to caregivers. Nurse Managers are qualified and experienced nurses who make fortnightly visits to seniors’ homes.

Elderly home care: Role of a nurse

During each visit to a senior’s home, the nurse manager checks the patient’s vital signs and solicits feedback from the senior or the family and the caregiver. The feedback keeps us informed about the progress of the senior, loopholes if any in the caregiving process, and of the relationship between the senior, her/his family, and the caregiver. We use these inputs, which are in a way a report card on the performance of the caregiver, to make necessary changes in the caregiving process.

Based on the feedback, we offer further guidance, education, and support to the caregiver. This is very important to keep the caregiver motivated. Caregiving is a tough job. Mental fatigue is common among caregivers. Our efforts to give the caregiver a sense of purpose and advancement via the feedback received also script his or her future. Based on the feedback, he or she may continue to stay in the company or quit after a brief stint at work.

There are laws that define the services of caregivers in India. Caregivers often come in to give the family caregiver or the primary caregiver much-needed respite so that the primary caregiver can afford some me-time. There are also seniors who need nursing services, occasionally. The need for caregivers does not arise here. In such cases, Nurse Managers administer injections, insert catheters, and dress wounds and pressure ulcers. They also demonstrate condition-appropriate exercises to the family caregiver and draw up a schedule as suggested by a physiotherapist when necessary.

A nurse manager @ Life Circle

Pandu with a senior during a home visit
Ramavath Pandu is a Nurse Manager at Life Circle. He follows the care plan prepared for each senior assigned to him during home visits. During one such scheduled visit to a bedridden senior Dattatreya, Pandu realized that the senior’s saturation levels were very low. He had to be rushed to the hospital. The senior’s wife could not think clearly in this situation and would not have been able to take the correct course of action.

That was when Pandu completely took charge of the situation. He placed the senior in an upright position, arranged for an ambulance, and contacted the senior’s daughter and son-in-law. He stayed with the family until things were sorted out.

Prajakta, Dattatreya’s daughter mentions, “He visited us in the hospital later in the day to check on us. My father was hospitalized for a few days after which his condition improved. We’re forever grateful to Mr. Pandu for his presence of mind and kindness. We have very high regard for him.”

Another client Bhavana talks about how her bedridden mother-in-law looks forward to Pandu’s fortnightly visits. He counsels the caregiver to move the senior’s joints in passive exercises and gives her tips on how to manage pain in the limbs. Bhavana discovered that Pandu’s visits offer a lot of comfort for the senior. This is because he takes interest in talking to the senior.

Opting for a nursing career in elderly home care

Pandu is proud to pursue a career in home nursing. It is one of the fastest-growing segments of the healthcare industry. Many caregivers operate under his guidance. Talking about this, he says, “When caregivers get the support they need, they provide higher quality care and experience much greater satisfaction with their work.” He truly understands the pulse of the organization. And Life Circle values his contribution.

For nurses who are used to the comfort of hospital jobs, it takes passion and grit to get out on the road and be a nurse in a home care setting. Long travel in the city traffic can be tiring; seniors and families are sometimes mired in their own situations to afford kind consideration to lapses. Caregivers can be difficult to manage for a variety of reasons. The most common one is that a majority of them are first-time workers in an organized workforce and do not understand what it is to work within the organizational norms and frameworks. Nurse Managers do tough but important work in tying up all these constituents and making the quality of care at home possible.

About the author

Madhumita is a familial caregiver to her mother-in-law who lives with dementia and a full-time mom of a bubbly 3-year-old. She meets and interacts with Life Circle’s clients to understand various aspects of Geriatric care and care needs with the aim of serving our clients in a better way.


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