Procedural Skills

As the baby-boomer generation grew up and the X and Y generation entered the scene, the American work culture changed. No longer did new graduates seek out service jobs as they did in the ’60s. 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? They recommended discharging patients home sooner. They moved forward with their plan; however, they 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 to someone, being successful in their recovery requires more than just knowing how to change a dressing or give medication. It also requires that you know warning signs of possible trouble and how to correct them. If you think something is wrong, you must confirm what you think is accurate. Before you make any changes, confirm your suspicions by comparing what you currently see to what you usually see for that body part. Then, call your family member’s doctor, remembering to share all related medical history.

“Caregiver Fundamentals” provides a series of independent medical topics related to fundamental care areas. In addition, I offer multiple video links from YouTube so you can watch someone perform the steps before you try them yourself. 

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 they provide care to 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.