When a caregiver is hired, one of the things that needs to be communicated by the family is what is normal for the client. By having this information, the hired caregiver can then know what is abnormal. “Once normal is established, then abnormals should always be communicated to the family,” says Kayla Cook, owner and director of Caring Excellence at Home. She says the timeliness of communicating those abnormals depends on what they are. “If it is a pretty drastic change in the normal, like mom is dizzy today, then it should be communicated in real time,” she says. Dizziness could be a reaction to medicine or a stroke and prove life-threatening.
Other things to communicate in real time include a client’s refusal to take medications , falls, and risks in the home such as a water leak that could result in extra expenses for the family.
Kayla recommends that caregivers keep a flow chart where they can record information about what clients ate and drank each day and how often they eliminated. She says a client’s orientation level is important to communicate because seniors often present with confusion when they are developing a urinary tract infection.
By Carrie Vittitoe