About the SeniorAdvisor.com 2014 In-Home Innovation Scholarship: We started the scholarship program to bring awareness of the unique benefits and challenges of in-home caregiving for seniors to younger generations. The questions posed by the scholarship encouraged our nation’s future caregivers to present solutions for improving home care in the United States. College-aged students were required to answer one of the three essay topics below and provide a short bio as part of their scholarship application. Read the winning essays here.
What is the top challenge facing in-home care in your city, and what is your proposed solution?
Essay response by Bridgette Beckermann, Bethel University
There are a few challenges within the home health care system. The first problem I am noticing is that because the “baby boom” era is getting to the age where many will need home health care, there are far too many patients and not enough people providing the care. This is a problem for both the providers that we do have as well as for the patients because often times the patient isn’t able to receive the full amount of care because of the lack of employees. On the providers side, there are so many patients that they are not able to give their full care and attention to all of their patients because they may have too many. One way to solve this problem is to open the doors of the caregiving business to more people. One does not need to be a certified nurse to provide care. The care that I do as a personal care assistant is the little things such as cleaning the house, running errands and preparing food. Companies should provide more people to do these tasks and then have one certified nurse to do the things that they need to do. This way there would be less nurses doing the busy work and then they would be able to make time for more patients as the numbers begin to increase.
The second challenge that I see within the home health care system is that often times, there is no relationship between the patient and the person giving the care. It is seen time and time again that the caregivers are being rough or inconsiderate with their patients. It is so sad to think that people that do not have a heart for doing this work are in this field of work but it is a reality. My roommate, being a nursing major, has told me stories about her time doing her CAN work and the problem between caregiver and patient seemed to be the largest problem that kept occurring. I feel like there needs to be a lot done in order to fully make this problem go away but to start, maybe the nurse assigned to each patient could ask the patient themselves if they are happy with the care they are receiving. The nurse could then bring the concerns as well as the complements back to the people that are doing the work. This is a simple solution but it also has problems because not every patient is able to respond in a way that would be beneficial to even ask them these sorts of questions in the first place. For patients that are not able to respond in a questionnaire based setting could have other solutions to receive better care. First, patients such as these should be monitored more closely by a nurse in the first place. These patients should have at least two nurses so that they will be held accountable for how they treat their patients. Having a grandmother with Alzheimer’s, I have seen countless in-home care providers that have come to care for her. It makes her and her husband (who lives at home with her) feel uncomfortable. If home care organizations would assign certain nurses to patients without having to switch them each week, I feel like there would be a better relationship between patient and care provider. For me, I PCA for my grandmother so we already have that foundation built but for someone who is a complete stranger, no one is comfortable. If a caregiver is not comfortable, how can they provide care? If a patient is not comfortable, how can they be cared for? These are things that homecare providers need to work on but I feel with even just these few adjustments, the homecare system could improve drastically.
Bridgette is a sophomore Bethel University, who is studying elementary education.