Author Dr. Atul Gawande Shares How Hospital's 75,000 Employees Stay Safe During Pandemic

You may remember Dr. Atul Gawande as the author of "The Checklist Manifesto" and "Being Mortal" books. He also writes articles for The New Yorker magazine, with his article suggesting hospitals could learn about operating efficiencies by mimicking The Cheesecake Factory gaining a lot of attention. The Cheesecake Factory has a menu with more than 200 items and still manages to get it right, day after day, in all of their locations, because they have a system to follow and accountability. Why can't hospitals do this, too, he asked. His checklist book also showcased how some of the most fatal mistakes at hospitals were because small items were missed.

This makes him a good resource to turn to for how to continue operating efficiently during a worldwide virus pandemic. In his recent article in The New Yorker, "Amid the Coronavirus Crisis, a Regimen for Reentry", he highlights how his hospital, Mass General Brigham, has managed to keep providing care, with precautions established, during the pandemic. They have a system to follow, even while being located in a hot-spot city during the beginning days of the virus.

Caregivers, too, have been the frontline workers, continuing to care for seniors in their homes during this time, while implementing safety guidelines. It will be important to combat the challenges of pandemic fatigue and learn the best strategies for staying safe as we all come out of the lockdown days. We will all need to keep our checklists to prevent becoming careless with safety measures.

What are the key takeaways from the hospital's coronavirus safety plan? Hand-washing! A 4-part strategy includes:

  1. Screening
  2. Hand-washing
  3. Social Distancing 
  4. Masks

Dr. Guwande notes that frequent hand-washing seems to be a reminder to maintain all of the additional safety protocols. As it is an interactive habit, it reminds you to engage in the other protocols - hands are washed, the mask is back, and keep your distance.

Caregivers arriving in a senior's home will wash their hands and be reminded that they are also wearing their masks and implementing all of their company's safety protocols. Caregiving training courses can be revisited for safe hand-washing tips.

America is Running out of Caregivers

As the aging population grows, so does the lack of caregivers. For many generations Americans have relied on family to provide care in older age but today many are growing older without family nearby. The numbers of people reaching retirement age are increasing and many don't have a family member to take care of them.

An estimate of 34.2 million people are providing unpaid care to an elderly person, and each day the demand for caregivers increases. According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, 'demand for private home health aides
is expected to exceed supply by more than three million in the next decade.' 

There is also the issue of public support, government programs only cover a fraction of the costs of long-term care. More adults are also reaching retirement single and having had no children. 

If you want to become a caregiver visit to learn more. If you or a loved one need care you can submit a form so we can help you connect with the care you need.

To learn more about the shortage of caregivers, read the Wall Street Journal article

Senior Caregiving: Assessing Needs in the Kitchen, Bedroom, and Bathroom

Most seniors want to age in place, according to AARP, but sometimes the biggest threat to that goal is their home itself. Keeping seniors safe at home requires making adaptations that reduce risk and help meet daily needs. Whether you’re moving an aging loved one into your home or helping them stay in their existing home, this guide will help you plan modifications in the kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom.

In the Kitchen
The kitchen is the heart of your home, but for seniors with growing disability, it’s also a room rife with danger. Whether it’s a senior in a wheelchair trying to reach a pan on the back burner or a person with dementia eating expired food, it doesn’t take a house fire to land a person in the hospital. Ask these questions to assess your loved one’s function in the kitchen:

  • Can she plan, prepare, and serve meals independently?
  • Is she able to stand at the stove or sink for extended periods?
  • Can she access controls on the stove, sink, and other appliances?
  • Are cabinet handles and drawer pulls easy to use?
  • Does she understand and practice safe food handling?
  • Can she eat and drink without assistance?

Common kitchen adaptations include installing a stove with front controls and adapting counters, sinks, and appliances for wheelchair accessibility. Even if a senior doesn’t use a wheelchair, it may be more comfortable to sit while cooking. Cabinet hardware and kitchen utensils can be swapped out for ergonomic designs that are easier on arthritis. And of course, every kitchen should be equipped with working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.

In the Bathroom
The bathroom is where 80 percent of senior falls happen, according to reporting by the National Safety Council, and it’s not hard to see why. Between slick surfaces, low toilets, and high tubs, this small room houses a lot of hazards. Consider these questions as you plan for modifications:

  • Does the layout allow ease of movement?
  • Can she get in and out of the tub or shower without help?
  • Can she stand comfortably in the tub during bathing?
  • Are faucets easy to use?
  • Can she bathe and groom herself independently?
  • Does she have trouble getting on or off the toilet?
  • Is she experiencing incontinence?

All seniors benefit from non-slip flooring, a grab bar at the toilet, and a raised toilet seat. Redfin advises going further, suggesting that "Safety rails with textured grips, shower seats, transfer
seats, and roll-in showers are also valuable options to make bathing safer and easier for your loved one. A single lever for the faucet is usually easier to turn and operate than two separate knobs, so consider a new faucet head if necessary." In addition, caregivers should account for incontinence in the elderly and install nightlights for overnight bathroom trips and locate the senior’s bedroom nearby a bathroom.

In the Bedroom
The bedroom is a senior’s safe space, so shouldn’t it be safe? Prevent accidents while dressing and sleeping by asking the following questions:

  • Can she dress and undress independently?
  • Does she select clothing appropriate for the weather and occasion?
  • Is she able to get in and out of bed comfortably?
  • Is nighttime visibility adequate?
  • Are there clear, wide pathways through the room?

The biggest concerns in the bedroom are falls, incontinence, and dressing. Minimize bedroom furniture and secure area rugs and loose cords to eliminate trip and fall hazards and install nightlights or bedside lamps so the senior can see, even at night. If she frequently gets up to urinate at night, a bedside commode can help. If the bed is too low or too high for comfortable transfers, a bed rail or another adaptive device can aid getting in and out of bed. Seniors with balance problems benefit from a chair that allows them to dress while seated.

While these three rooms are the most hazardous in any home, they aren’t the only places that hold danger. Watch your family member as she goes through her daily activities so you can identify other areas where extra help is needed. Since seniors are often reluctant to admit when they need assistance, it’s up to you to stay aware of changing needs and adapt as necessary.

Image via Unsplash

How Immigration Law Will Impact Grandma's Care from this Week's Wall Street Journal

Caregiving jobs are plentiful for many reasons. Seniors don't plan ahead for senior care needs, which can arise suddenly after a medical emergency. Many American still do not realize that caregiving can provide ongoing employment with a professionally licensed senior care and because of this, do not pursue these jobs. Others think they must be a nurse to perform professional caregiving positions.

Right now, there is a shortage of senior caregivers in the U.S.A. and many legal immigrants, or first-Americans, thankfully, have joined our workforce as caregivers. We are so very grateful at Caregiverlist that we have this diversity of employees to help fill senior care company's job openings.

After the knee-replacements, heart by-passes, and age-related illnesses, seniors require caregiving services in order to maintain living a safe quality of life each day. Their families often no longer live nearby.

Caregiverlist includes many first-Americans, or "immigrants" on our job list and caregiver training registry. They are all here legally and employed as caregivers by licensed senior home care agencies. These companies must verify all employees by conducting background checks, finger-printing and in some states, home health registry verification.

Caregiving is hard work. More caregivers are needed. Because also, you know, some people are tough to care for and require multiple caregivers to rotate on a weekly schedule to maintain staffing.

Gerald F. Seib's article in this week's Wall Street Journal, shares some numbers to highlight why having more caregivers must be considered as immigration policies are updated.

  • 1 in 4 Direct-care Workers are First-Americans which means 860,000 immigrants fill these caregiving jobs now
  • This number has grown to 24% in 2015, from 20% in 2005
  • In New York, California, New Jersey and Florida, 40% of the caregiver workers are immigrants
  • Among these immigrant caregiver workers nationwide, 56% are citizens by naturalization

Not having enough workers has the potential to drive up care costs.

Do you know someone who could work as a part-time or full-time senior caregiver? No experience is required and they can obtain online training for all of the beginning caregiver skills. Please refer them to the Caregiverlist' Career Center to learn more and submit a job application.

Find caregiver training requirements in your state.

Gait Belt Transfers for Safe Senior Care

How to safely transfer using a gait belt? Senior caregivers must be sure their senior clients are able to move from standing to sitting and bed to chair and back safely and the gait belt makes transfers safe for both the caregiver and the senior.

Caregiver Training University courses teach safe transfer skills. Watch this video to learn how to use a gait belt from Certified Nursing Aides and professional caregivers.

Become a Certified Caregiver by taking online caregiver training meeting your state's requirements and apply for a caregiver job near you.

Grilling App Helps Caregivers Prep for Holiday Weekend

With the Fourth of July holiday on Tuesday, many caregivers and their senior clients may be planning to celebrate by attending a party or grilling at home with loved ones. While old stand-bys work, the Weber Grill app offers a wide selection of recipes to try this year.

The recipes are the main star of the Weber Grill app. When caregivers first open it, they are greeted with a home screen full of photos of featured recipes, such as California Hamburgers with Guacamole Mayonnaise or Caribbean Swordfish with Mango Salsa. As caregivers scroll down, new recipes continue to populate the screen.

Caregivers can also scroll through categories of recipes by selecting the different icons at the top of the screen. Categories include new recipes, red meat, pork, poultry, seafood, veggies, dessert, etc.

When users see a recipe that they'd like to make, they can click on the photo to see all of the details. At the top, caregivers can see the number of servings it makes, the prep time and the grilling time. As they scroll down, they can also see the ingredients and the cooking instructions for the dish. 

If caregivers want to make a recipe, they can add it to their Grocery List within the app and it will prepopulate with all of the ingredients that they need. Then, when caregivers are at the grocery store, they can easily scroll through the list of ingredients and place a check mark next to the items as they place them in their grocery cart.

The app also includes a built-in timer, so when you place your food on the grill you can easily cook it for exactly the time specified in the recipe. And even more helpful is the Grill Guide area. Here caregivers can pick the type of meat they're cooking, it's approximate thickness and the desired cook, if it's something like beef. Once the info is entered, the app will tell you approximately how long to cook it for to get the desired cook.

The Weber Grill app is available for Apple platforms.

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

- Paige Krzysko

Become Professional Senior Caregiver with State Caregiver Training

Professional senior caregivers now may take formal training curated to meet state licensing requirements for senior care. As Americans are living longer, while needing care for some of those years and end-of-life care, both professional and family caregivers may join the Professional Association of Caregivers to keep up with industry news and research. The online caregiver training delivers skills for safety for both the senior and caregiver. Learn how to communicate with seniors, understand age-related illnesses, medications, infection control, environmental safety, transfer skills from bed to wheelchair to walker and more.

Join the P.A.C. Professional Association of Caregivers to receive t-shirt, lapel pin and online caregiver training certification.
JOIN NOW Created by Senior Home Care Industry Professionals for the Industry - Built for Caregivers

Caregiver Training for Private Duty Senior Caregivers

Senior caregivers are required to be trained and competent in specific skills now in many states in the U.S.A. California most recently passed legislation mandating a minimum of 10 hours of training for new caregivers followed by 5 hours of training each year. 

Caregiver training certification ensures the caregiver understands how to care for a senior and effectively manage age-related issues. Training for caregiving for a senior with Alzheimer's disease, for instance, will make a significant difference in the quality of the care. Even family members can benefit from training on how best to interact with a senior with memory loss.