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Home Caring - Keeping Home Holiday Visits Injury Free

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Home Caring - Keeping Home Holiday Visits Injury Free

Christmas is all about being with family and friends, so it's a great time to bring home a loved one who may usually live in residential care.

But if you're not used to supporting a family member with health or disability needs, you could end up injuring yourself, or your loved one. "Asking for expert advice and then taking a few steps at home can make the difference between an enjoyable family occasion and a trip to the hospital," said ACC injury prevention Strategic Projects Manager Kylie Holmes.

"If you're not the person's usual carer, staff at their residential care facility should first ensure that you are skilled and confident enough to look after that person. They can give you advice, or an occupational therapist can visit your home to assess the situation. They can they show you proper techniques - for lifting, toileting etc - and let you know what equipment you may need. However, avoiding injuries - for both of you - is often a matter of being organised and constantly assessing hazards." In the bathroom: Before bringing your family member in, check that the floor is uncluttered and dry so there's less risk of slips, trips and falls. Have everything you need for a bath within easy reach, including towels. Keep a cordless phone with you and ignore the door bell! Never leave your family member alone in the bath. Use a non-slip bathmat and keep a spare towel handy to deal with spills.

In the kitchen: Pets are a huge tripping hazard so keep them out of the kitchen. If you and your family member are in the kitchen, talk to them about where you are and what you're doing so they know what's going on. Mop up spills as soon as they happen. Keep tea and coffee things near the jug so you don't have to carry hot water. If you're going out, leave anything your family member may need readily available so they don't have to reach or stoop to find anything. Put milk in a small jug, or hot water in a thermos for easy management.

In the living area: Keep living areas free of clutter and always check floors for tripping hazards before walking or carrying your family member in. Keep a box handy to quickly store clutter away. If going out, leave anything that person may need (books, remote controls, a drink, pens) within easy reach so they don't have to get up.

"Very importantly, carers need to remember to look after themselves as well. Don't overdo it by trying to do everything yourself. Having your family member home for a visit should be an enjoyable event, so ask for help if you need it," Miss Holmes said. For more information on home safety please go to www.acc.co.nz/homesafety, or for more on caring, please go to www.carers.net.nz.

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