Feature Article: Creating an Efficient Home Environment for Caregiving

by | Aug 17, 2021 | Featured Article | 0 comments

ReadersMagnet talks about the importance of creating an efficient home environment for health care.

In the United States and many parts of the world, caregiving is continuously evolving. Many elderly and sick adults chose independent living and assisted living facilities from nursing homes and retirement communities. Some choose to receive care in the comforts of their residence. Medical technologies, health care devices, and protocols are rapidly moving into the home. The factors driving this migration include:

  • The costs of health care.
  • The growing numbers of older adults.
  • Increasing prevalence of chronic conditions and diseases.
  • Improved survival rates for patients with those conditions.
  • The recent pandemic dramatically affected every medical institution worldwide.

On a lighter note, one factor is the wide range of technological innovations that have allowed us to provide care for our patients at home. Although these health care setups have varied results, effectiveness, and efficiency, and their quality and cost, technological advancements have significantly narrowed the gap in many aspects of caregiving. In all these innovations and advancements, one integral aspect remains crucial in all health care types- providing a home environment for the patient.

The Importance of Creating a Home Environment for Patients

In One Caregiver’s Journey, a caregiver book by Eleanor Gaccetta, we learn the importance of creating a home environment for patients. Family caregiving not only means having all the equipment, technology, and information at home. It is also all about maintaining safety and comfort for the patient, especially the elderly and senior adults. In one of the blog articles from Gaccetta’s website entitled ‘The Impact of Home and Environmental Modification to Senior, we were reminded of the essential benefits of maintaining a safe and homely environment for elderly patients.

According to https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/,

“In contrast, environmental facilitators reduce barriers and have positive impacts on the functioning of individuals and their caregivers. In fact, one study (Freedman, Martin, and Schoeni, 2002) suggests that gains in functioning of older adults over the past few decades may be the result, in part, of the introduction of facilitators and the reduction of environmental barriers. A second study reviewed 64 studies of environmental interventions for the management of Alzheimer’s disease (Gitlin, Liebman, and Winter, 2003) and reported that environmental interventions had some level of success in 90 percent of the studies, resulting in significant improvement in experimental group participants in 10 of 11 randomized clinical trials. More broadly, in a review article of studies on the home environment and disability, Wahl and colleagues (2009) reported that the majority of studies provided supportive evidence that improving the home environment reduces disability-related outcomes.”

It is not enough to create a safe and comfortable atmosphere at home while providing health care to a patient. A home must be equipped to provide safety and efficiency for both the patient and the caregiver. It should be a house that feels like a home (safe, comfortable, familiar, peaceful, and happy) but also a place where proper medical attention and care is readily available (efficient, sanitized, well-equipped, and well-supplied). Atmosphere-wise, providing health care at home also means that the household must be briefed on the ‘dos and don’ts’ while the patient is being sheltered at home. Our goal is to give our patients the utmost care, attention, and aid they need while on treatment and recovery.

There is still a great need for us to study and research more current knowledge and practices about health care in residential settings. Many aspects need to be observed, including the short- and long-term effects of emerging trends and technologies. Hopefully, as time goes by, we can evaluate existing systems, identify design problems, and room for improvements both in technological and technical aspects. Every year health care technologies and practices are improving. With proper training and preparation, we can make residential health care a reliable and primary option for elderly caregiving in the years to come. 

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