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Home care is generally non-medical assistance offers in home setting. Usually the services are hired for adults who are not in a position to perform daily activities because of one reason or another. Apart from providing family members peace of mind, the adults receiving assistance remain at the comfort of their homes compared to being in a nursing home or facility which is depressing for some. It is important to remember that home care is different from home health care. Home health care requires registered nurses and trained therapists with medical qualifications to offer assistance at home..

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Nursing Homes Versus Adult Daycare

An adult family care home is in the assisted living category of retirement living. The services are the same and they have to abide by the same laws as an assisted living facility. The only difference is that an adult family care home can only have up to 5 residents.

True to the name, these types of homes provide family-style living in a private home. The 5 full time residents are elderly or disabled adults who are not related to the owner of the home. The residents can either share a room with another resident or they can have a room all to themselves.

The owner who lives in the home provides-by way of a contracted nurse or outsourced caregiver- the same services that are provided in a larger assisted living facility and include but are not limited to:

There are pros and cons associated with both assisted living facilities and adult family care homes. It would seem that one of the benefits of living in an AFCH would be that there is more of an intimate family-style atmosphere. In addition to that, these homes are typically more affordable than an assisted living facility.

Once you decide exactly which type of assisted living situation you want your loved one to settle into, it might be a good idea to talk to an elder law attorney. There is usually a bunch of paperwork to fill out before you can move in.

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Working as a home health aide with mentally ill patients requires a special sensitivity to the needs of the mentally challenged. Too often, people tend to think of the mentally challenged as being somehow inferior and as such, they tend to talk down to them. However, what the mentally ill really need is what anyone else needs - they need someone who will take them seriously and make sure their needs are met while giving them as much freedom as possible.

Just What Is Mental Illness?

Before we can begin to discuss how to work effectively with mentally ill home care patients, it's important to understand what mental illness actually means. Let's start with the most basic definition and then go into a more detailed explanation. At its most basic, mental illness means that someone is incapable of functioning independently in society due to some kind of problems with how they experience the world emotionally. Exactly how this manifests itself and what the issues are do require additional explanation however.

Some indicators that a person may be mentally challenged include:

  • Inability to Develop and Maintain Healthy Relationships - Many mentally ill people find it difficult or impossible to create healthy interpersonal relationships.

  • Lack of Impulse Control - Another common problem for mentally challenged individuals is a lack of impulse control. Many mentally challenged individuals will for example do things in public or even in private that mentally sound people won't do (i.e. scream out loud at no one in particular, cause damage, public urination, etc.).

  • Inability to Tolerate Anxiety and Frustration - We all deal with anxiety and frustration on a daily basis. However, those who are mentally challenged often find that they cannot handle any (or very little) anxiety and or frustration in daily life.

  • Inability to Respect Others - Finally, many mentally ill people find it difficult to respect others, in terms of private space and or in terms of regular verbal abuse.

Your mentally challenged patients may also experience changes in behavior which are of a positive nature. Thus, it's important to note when and if such changes occur and to note changes in personality, either for the good or the bad.

While you should note environmental factors surrounding such changes in behavior, it's important not to draw conclusions on your own as to what precipitated these changes. Instead, you should note only the facts and allow mental health professionals to make such diagnoses.

Making Sure Patients are Cared For

It's important as a home health care worker working with mentally ill individuals to make sure that they are complying with their treatment regimen. This means for example that you need to ensure that the person is taking their medication on time and in the correct doses.

You must also watch carefully to ensure that dangerous behaviors do not put your patients in harm's way. When danger does present itself, you should call 911 to get emergency workers to help deal with the problems rather than attempting to deal with it on your own. For example, if your mentally challenged patient overdoses on sleeping pills, you should call 911 immediately rather than try to induce vomiting on your own.

Provide Patients with a Path to Recovery

Finally, your role as a home health care worker is to facilitate the patient's path to recovery. This means that you work with them to ensure that they will have the right kind of support to deal with their problems and that you help to keep the family involved as well in the recovery of the mentally challenged patient that you work with as a home health care worker.


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