Team approach to caring for a Senior

We at Life Circle, strive to offer good quality home nursing and caregiving services to seniors. The caregiving team at Life Circle includes caregivers and nurses. Caregivers are a cadre of workers who have generally studied upto class 8. Some may have studied till class 12. They then have undergone a 3-6-month skills training 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 senior specific knowledge, skills and attitude. Life Circle’s Nurse Managers play this role. Nurse managers are qualified and experienced nurses who make fortnightly visits to senior’s homes.

Role of a Nurse

During a visit, the nurse manager checks the senior’s vital signs, solicits feedback from senior or the family and the caregiver. The feedback informs us on the progress of the senior, care provisioning gaps of the specific caregiver/s and of the relation between the senior, her/his family and the caregiver. We use these inputs to make necessary changes: in the way we guide, educate, support the caregiver. This is very important to keep the caregiver motivated. Caregiving is a tough job. Mental fatigue is common. Our ability to give the caregiver a sense of purpose and advancement determines whether she continues to stay on or quit after a brief inning of work.

Law defines the services that caregivers in India can provide. They often replace a family caregiver’s time. But, we see some seniors who need nursing services, occasionally. In such cases Nurse Managers also administer injections, insert catheters, dress wounds and pressure ulcers. They demonstrate condition appropriate exercise to the caregiver, draw up a schedule as suggested by 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 monitors the care plan of each senior assigned to him during home visits. During one such scheduled visit to a bedridden senior- Mr. 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 clear in this situation.

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

Prajakta, Mr. 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 family member Mrs. 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. Mrs. Bhavana finds Pandu’s visits most comforting for the senior because he takes the interest to talk to the senior.

Opting for a nursing career in homecare

Pandu is proud to pursue a career in the home-nursing, one of the fastest growing segmentsof 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 we value his contribution.

For nurses who are used to 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 tires you, 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- majority of them are first time workers in organized work force and don’t understand what it is to work within the organizational norms and frameworks. Nurse managers do a tough but important work in tying up all these constituents and make 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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