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Home attendants are needed more than ever as the population ages. Elderly and ill people often need around-the-clock care and home attendants are crucial to their safety and well-being, especially when they are homebound. Relatives are able to go to work or live apart from their sick and elderly loved ones when they know the home attendant is stopping in for a few hours care. Having the help of a home attendant can be the difference between a lonely existence and a comfortable, secure life.
Provide Basic Medical Care
Providing basic medical care is one of the tasks of a home attendant. They administer oral or topical medications as directed by a physician or nurse. They may change dressings and check vital signs or assist with prosthetics or respirators. Sometimes, home attendants help with physical therapy exercises. In conjunction with this basic medical care, they keep records as requested by health care providers.
Assist Personal Grooming
Home attendants assist the patients with personal grooming, including bathing, dental hygiene, and the use of bedpans and disposal of bedpan waste. They help patients dress, groom their hair, and shave them or apply cosmetics.
Assist with Mobility
Mobility is an issue for many patients, and home attendants help them get in and out of chairs, bathtubs, beds and vehicles. They are trained to assist patients in using canes and walkers. Home attendants assist patients in getting to appointments, especially medical appointments. They accompany clients to doctors' offices and on other trips outside the home.
Housekeeping and Meal Preparation
An important task performed by home attendants is light housekeeping. The attendant changes bed linens and towels, launders clothing and linens, and keeps the house tidy. The attendant may shop for food and prepare it (often following a special diet prescribed for the patient). Attendants may also run errands for patients and assist with correspondence.
Perhaps one of the most important duties of home attendants is to provide companionship to their patients. They entertain, chat with and read to their patients. They help the patients keep abreast of subjects that interest them, making sure they telephone friends or watch favorite television shows. Patients who speak languages other than English are often assigned home attendants fluent in those languages.
Roz Calvert was a contributing writer for the award-winning ezine Urban Desires where her travel writing and fiction appeared. Writing professionally since 1980, she has penned promotional collateral for Music Magnet Media and various musicians. The "Now Jazz Consortium" published her jazz educational fiction. She published a juvenile book about Zora Neale Hurston and attended West Virginia University and the New School.