Procedural Skills

The American work culture changed as the baby-boomer generation grew up and the X and Y generation entered the scene. New graduates no longer sought service jobs as they did in the ’60s. Instead, graduates from colleges and high schools wanted the excitement of technology—independence, self-scheduling, free-thinking, big money, high-tech, and out-of-the-box thinking—all incompatible with most healthcare jobs. As a result, healthcare faced a staffing crisis.

So how did healthcare experts propose to resolve the national healthcare staffing crisis? First, they recommended discharging patients home sooner. They moved forward with their plan but did not develop the infrastructure to support families who had to take on the extra burden.

The “Procedural Skills” section helps fill in the gaps between what families are shown at healthcare families and what they need to know at home. You’ll find written step-by-step instructions, videos, and links to sites demonstrating some of the more common healthcare procedures and “need-to-know” preventive care guidelines necessary for safe and effective care at home.

Caregiver Fundamentals

When providing care, being successful in their recovery requires more than knowing how to change a dressing or give medication. Caregivers also need to know the warning signs of impending trouble and what actions to take to prevent what might occur, if possible. If your gut is telling you something is wrong, listen to it. Investigate that feeling. Confirm what you know and determine what you don’t know. Then, compare what you find to what you know you should be seeing if everything is alright. If there is a difference, is there something you can do about it yourself, or do you need to contact your family member’s healthcare team? As a caregiver, you are the first line of defense for your family member and their greatest source of protection and insight into keeping them healthy and moving toward recovery.
Caregiver Fundamentals provides a series of independent medical topics related to fundamental care areas. In addition, I provide links to YouTube videos showing examples of procedures’ performances. I have no affiliation with the producers of the videos. I selected the video because it looked informative, and I felt it would be helpful for you to watch. If you know of a better example, I’m open to suggestions as long as it’s free.

Wash your hands after blowing your nose.

Medical Condition Overview

Sometimes it helps to know more about the medical condition causing the problem. Knowing what happens when the medical condition is out of control makes symptoms easier to recognize as they develop. Furthermore, once you realize what is wrong and how it differs from normal, you can formulate an action plan to correct the problem. Finally, knowing what to do, what often works, and what other options might be available if the initial plan doesn’t work gives the caregiver more options to help their family member recover.

Medication Supervision

Probably all caregivers assist with giving medications in some format when caring for a family member. On the surface, giving medications seems simple, but it can be deadly if you’re not careful. Giving too much or too little medication can cause serious harm to someone. On the other hand, giving a medication the wrong way can affect a drug’s potency and response time. Therefore, it is essential to understand what you give, why, how to give it, when, how much to give, and how often.

Furthermore, some medications are potentially dangerous if given incorrectly and carefully administered. For example, drugs like insulin and heparin act quickly, and small mistakes can have serious consequences. Therefore, caregivers must be alert and pay attention when administering medications.