When a family member becomes bedridden

When a senior suddenly becomes bedridden, his or her family members are often at wits’ end because assisting the senior to perform his or her activities of daily living on bed can pose a challenge. The senior will also need to be given round-the-clock attention which can be hard on the family members.

When Prafulla Mukhi became temporarily bedridden after developing an infection in the spinal cord, her family found it difficult to manage all aspects of care on the bed and decided to hire a professional home attendant from Life Circle, a home care providing agency. Talking of her experiences with Life Circle’s caregivers for nearly two years since then, Sridevi, the patient’s daughter-in-law says that Pulasam Kalpana was their favourite caregiver who cared for Prafulla during the bedridden phase for 6-7 months, “She knew how to get the job done and had the knack. She would somehow make her take the medicines. (She) Would tell stories (to get the patient to co-operate). (She) Would make her exercise as per the physiotherapist’s advice. She completely took over from the first day.”[sic]

Aspects of home care for a bedridden patient

Firstly, the caregiver must make sure that the patient is clean and a daily hygiene regimen is in place. This includes activities like sponging, maintaining oral hygiene, changing clothes, combing hair, trimming nails, etc.

An important area in which caregivers must pay special attention is prevention of bedsores. Re-positioning the patient every few hours and getting the patient to perform a few light exercises in bed can easily prevent bedsores.

During feeding time, caregivers need to support the patient’s head and back with the help of a few pillows or a back rest and help the patient sit up (at least in a semi-reclining position) and feed him or her small bites and sips. Seniors will usually take longer. Caregivers need to be patient and it’s normal for a mealtime to last up to an hour.

Caregivers need to support patients having different toileting needs and help in maintaining perineal hygiene. While a bedpan can be used in some cases those with incontinence need to use diapers and attention needs to given to those with catheters. Changing a bedridden adult’s diaper is different from changing a baby’s. The patient has to be rolled onto her (his) sides as he or she is being cleaned up which can be challenging if the patient is medium or heavy built.

Bedding can get soiled during meal time, during bed baths; it may also have dirt, skin particles etc. Changing bed-sheets every day is recommended for bedridden patients as they are most vulnerable to infections. A skilled caregiver can change bed-sheets while the patient stays on the bed.

In addition to this, a bedridden patient obviously goes through a lot of distress and that may make him or her angry, upset and go through mood swings. Caregivers from Lifestyle are empathetic. They understand a patient’s needs and accede to his or her requests accordingly.

Prafulla Mukhi’s recovery

Because of her condition, Prafulla Mukhi had to undergo a minor surgery. After nearly a year and a half of medication, physiotherapy, dietary changes, the patient is able to sit up, use the bathroom and walk independently. Sridevi mentions, “The recovery was miraculous and would not be possible without the help of caregivers from Life Circle who worked with the patient on a daily basis following the advice of doctors and physiotherapists.”

The emphasis on quality home care

Our trained caregivers offer quality care to many bedridden patients. A qualified nurse constantly supports caregivers on their job and ensures that they follow a personalised care plan. They also train them on specific requirements related with a patient’s condition.

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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