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First steps for new caregivers: Doing a health assessment for your client

Jun 17, 2022 · 5 minutes to read

As a professional caregiver, you may provide non-medical assistance to older clients. While you might not be administering medications or giving health advice, you are still part of a team looking after their wellbeing.

A caregiver with a wheelchair-riding senior

One way you could help is by doing a senior health assessment whenever you take on a new patient. Home health assessments can help you understand each client’s needs, find ways to improve their living situation, and help you do your job better. These assessments could also help your business stand out from your competitors, adding an extra layer of professionalism to the services you provide.

Here are some caregiver tips to help you carry out an in-home care assessment for your older clients.

Understand the patient’s concerns

Many older patients need help in their daily lives. However, they may also be resistant to the idea. It can be hard for people to ask for help, and many people fear losing their independence as they age. It can also be scary inviting a stranger into your home, often to help with very personal activities. No matter how friendly you are, you might get some pushback from your clients!

Your home health assessment should begin by talking with your client. This can help you get a sense of how they are feeling about their health and any changes that may be coming. You can begin to understand their concerns and work out ways to lessen these together. You may also want to speak with family members and close friends who are also involved in your client’s care, as they will also be part of their health and care team.

Do a home walkthrough

An in-home care assessment should also evaluate the client’s home with their health and mobility in mind. As your patient gets older, it may get harder for them to move safely around their home. You might be able to make recommendations to improve their safety and mobility now and into the future.

Changes you might suggest to a new client include:

  • Adding ramps to entryways to help avoid tripping and falling
  • Installing a chairlift to make reaching the second floor safer
  • Moving frequently used items from high cupboards to lower ones
  • Widen doors to accommodate a wheelchair
  • Installing smart devices with voice controls
  • Moving to a ground floor bedroom to reduce the need to go upstairs
  • Add grab bars to the bathrooms
  • Use a shower chair when bathing

You may be able to partner with a mobility and accessibility product supplier who can provide and install these and other items for your clients. They might be able to offer your clients a discount if you can provide enough referrals.

Get a medication list

Part of your role as a caregiver may be to remind your patient when to take their medications. You might also need to check that they are taking the correct dosage prescribed by their doctor. Getting an updated medication list could help you manage your patient’s schedule. This may also include being home at a certain time so a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or home health aide (HHA) can administer medication shots.

Be sure to update this list to record any changes in the patient’s schedule or dosage. You should also take steps to keep this information confidential, as it contains sensitive details about your client.

Join them during doctor appointments

If your client is willing, it may help to accompany them to some doctor appointments. It might be useful to hear the doctor’s instructions firsthand, particularly when it comes to medication changes, nutrition, and exercise. You may play a role in helping your patient meet medical goals, such as helping them prepare healthy meals to manage their weight.

Letting another person in during health appointments involves a lot of trust. You must keep your patients’ information confidential and take steps to keep these details safe if you keep notes.

Consider their mental health

Caregivers may also need to think about their client’s mental health. While you may be there to help with everyday living tasks and tracking their physical health, you may also be tasked with helping maintain their mental health too.

Your home health assessment might include questions about the client’s mental health. Questions you may ask are:

  • How many close friends or family members do you see regularly?
  • Are you part of any social clubs or organizations?
  • Do you visit a mental health professional?
  • What hobbies do you enjoy? How often do you participate in them?

Many caregivers provide companionship for patients, but it may help to understand how they are meeting these needs currently. This could help you connect them with extra resources, such as joining a hobby club or support group.

Helping seniors stay at home

Learning how to care for old people is an important part of being a professional caregiver. A senior health assessment or in-home care assessment could help you address the unique needs of each patient, so you can provide the best care possible. Providing this service to your clients can also put their minds at ease, knowing that you’re willing to take the time to really get to know them and understand why they are inviting you into their homes.

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