Comfort of Home: A Complete Guide for Home Caregivers (3rd Edition)

Comfort of Home: A Complete Guide for Home Caregivers (3rd Edition)

by Maria M. Meyer, Paula Derr


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780966476798
Publisher: Care Trust Publications
Publication date: 01/25/2007
Series: Comfort of Home Series
Pages: 385
Product dimensions: 7.40(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Comfort of Home

A Complete Guide for Home Caregivers
By Maria M. Meyer Paula Derr

CareTrust Publications, LLC

Copyright © 2007 CareTrust Publications
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-9664767-9-8


Part One: Getting Ready 1. Is Home Care of You? 2. Using the Health Care Team Effectively 3. Getting In-Home Help 4. Paying for Care 5. Financial Management and Tax Planning 6. Planning End-of-Life Care 7. Preparing the Home 8. Equipment and Supplies Part Two: Day by Day 9. Setting Up a Plan of Care 10. How to Avoid Caregiver Burnout 11. Activities of Daily Living 12. Therapies 13. Special Challenges 14. Diet, Nutrition & Exercise 15. Emergencies 16. Body Mechanics-Positioning, Moving and Transfers 17. Hospice Care 18. Funeral Arrangements and the Grieving Process Part Three: Additional Resources 19. Common Abbreviations 20. Common Specialists Caregiver Organizations Glossary Index

Chapter One

Equipment and Supplies

Where to Buy Needed Supplies * 118

Where to Borrow * 119

How to Pay * 121

Medical Equipment * 122 Equipment for the Bedroom Equipment for the Bathroom Mobility Aids

Assistive Devices * 128 Sight Aids Listening Aids Eating Aids Dressing Aids Devices for Summoning Help Cooling Devices Computer Equipment Homemade Aids and Gadgets Equipment Cost-Comparison Chart SpecializedHospital-Type Equipment

Resources * 134

To provide proper at-home care, you will need certain supplies. There are two types:

general medical supplies

durable medical equipment

Before buying anything or signing a rental contract, ask your doctor, physical or occupational therapist, or nurse. Salespeople may not be trained to assess what the person in your care may need. Occupational therapists can advise you on low-cost substitutes for expensive equipment. With the proper doctor's orders (referrals) and documentation, some equipment is covered by Medicare or private insurance. Get in touch with your insurance carrier to see if what you need is covered and follow the company's rules for getting approval before buying.

Where to Buy Needed Supplies

Buy medical equipment and supplies from dealers that are well established and that are well known for good service. Be sure to get advice about where to buy from your health care professionals or hospital discharge planner. To compare prices, use the chart on page 133.

Look in the Yellow Pages under Surgical Appliances, Physicians and Surgeons, Equipment & Supplies, and First Aid Supplies. Sources include

surgical supply stores



home health care agencies

medical supply catalogs

Where to Borrow

For short-term use, think about borrowing equipment from the following local groups:

Salvation Army

Red Cross

Visiting Nurses Association

home health care agencies

National Easter Seal Society

charity organizations

faith-based groups, senior centers, leisure clubs

How to Pay

If you need assistance in paying for medical equipment:

Ask the doctor to write an order for a home evaluation (assessment), including an evaluation of needed equipment.

Find out if the equipment is partly or completely covered by private health insurance with home care benefits.

Check state retirement and union programs.

Medicare does not help pay for assistive devices, but does pay for durable medical equipment in some cases. To be covered, the equipment must be prescribed by a doctor and it must be medically necessary. It must be useful only to the sick or injured person and must be reusable. Medicare will pay for the rental of certain items for no more than 15 months. After that time you may buy the equipment from the supplier. If the person in your care has met the deductible, Medicare will pay 80% of the approved charges on the rental, purchase, and service of equipment that the doctor has ordered.

Medical Equipment

You will need to have special equipment for different rooms in the house, as well as equipment to increase the person's ability to get around.

Equipment for the Bedroom

The equipment you need to have depends on the person's medical condition. This equipment might include some of the items listed below.

hospital bed-allows positioning (adjusting) that is not possible in a regular bed and aids in resting and breathing more comfortably and getting in and out of bed more easily

alternating pressure mattress-reduces pressure on skin tissue

egg-carton pad-a foam mattress pad shaped like the bottom of an egg carton that reduces pressure and improves air circulation

portable commode chair-for ease of toileting at the bedside

trapeze bar-provides support and a secure hand-hold while changing positions

transfer board-a smooth board for independent or assisted transfer from bed to wheelchair, toilet, or portable commode ([??] See p. 328)

hydraulic lift-for use on a person who is difficult to move

over-the-bed table-provides a surface for eating, reading, writing, and game playing (could be an adjustable ironing board)

mechanical or electric lift chair-for help getting up from a chair

blanket support-a wire support that keeps heavy bed linens off injured areas or the feet

urinal and bedpan-for toileting in the bed

Equipment for the Bathroom

The equipment you will need depends on the person's needs. You should consider providing the following:

raised (elevated) toilet seat-used to assist a person who has difficulty getting up or down on a toilet (available in molded plastic and clamp-on models for different toilet bowl styles)

commode aid-a device that acts as an elevated toilet seat when used with a splash guard, or as a commode when used with a pail

toilet frame-a free-standing unit that fits over the toilet and provides supports on either side for ease in getting up and down

grab bars for tub and shower-properly installed wall-mounted safety bars that hold a person's weight

safety mat and strips-rough vinyl strips that stick to the bottom of the tub and shower to prevent slipping

hand-held shower hose-a movable shower hose and head that allows the water to be directed to all parts of the body

bath bench-aid for a person who has difficulty sitting down in or getting up from the bottom of the tub

bath transfer bench-a bench that goes across the side of the tub and allows a person to get out of the tub easily

bathtub safety rails-support for getting in and out of the tub

Mobility Aids

Mobility aids include devices that help a person move around without help. They also help the caregiver transfer the person in and out of bed and from bed to a chair.

They include-

a wheelchair with padding and removable arms

a walker to help maintain balance and provide some support

a 3- or 4-wheel electric scooter

crutches when weight cannot be put on one leg or foot

a cane to provide light weight-bearing support

a transfer board (9" x 24") for moving someone in and out of bed ([??] See illustration p. 324)

a gait/transfer belt ([??] See how to use on p. 324)

Wheelchair Requirements

Proper fit, as determined by a physical therapist.



ease of repair

attractive appearance


ease of handling


Wheelchair Attachments

a brake lever extension on the handle

elevated leg rests and removable footrests

armrests that can be taken off

Assistive Devices

For those with poor sight and hearing or other limitations, there are many aids to make life easier. Look into all the options and you will find that your job as caregiver becomes easier too.

Sight Aids

prism glasses

magnifying glasses

prescription glasses

Braille books and signs

cassette players and books on tape

telesensory devices that change printed letters into symbols that can be touched

Listening Aids

hearing aids (order from an audiologist, or hearing therapist, who allows a free 30-day trial and is a registered dealer)

sound systems that amplify (make louder)

telephone amplifiers (for increased volume)

devices for getting close-captioned TV programs

Eating Aids

spoons that swivel for those who have trouble with wrist movement

foam that can be fit over utensils to increase the gripping surface so they can be lifted more easily

plate guards or dishes with high sides that make it easier to scoop food onto a spoon

rocker knives that can cut food with a rocking motion

food-warming dishes for slow eaters

mugs with two handles, a cover, a spout, and a suction base

Dressing Aids

button hooks that make buttoning clothes easy

dressing sticks that make it possible to dress without bending

long-handled shoehorns so a person doesn't have to bend over when putting on shoes

sock aids that keep stockings open while they are being put on

Devices for Summoning Help

touch-tone phones with speed dials

medical security response systems

beepers for the caregiver

wireless transmitters for emergency response

Cooling Devices

Heat can be the enemy for many people with chronic illness. Learning how to "cool it!" in the summer months can be a problem. Fortunately, there are a number of cooling devices available to help the caregiver and care receiver beat the heat:

There are scarves and neck wraps that can be made cool by simply soaking in water.

Cooling vests are another staple among cooling devices.

There are devices for cooling wrists and ankles. One brand has arm and leg bands made of terrycloth into which you insert custom-size freezer packs.

Computer Equipment

There are countless hardware and software programs to make computers easier for people with disabilities to use. Alternative keyboards, puff switches for those who cannot use a mouse, screen readers, talking word processors, and voice recognition software are available today.

Homemade Aids and Gadgets

wrist straps for canes-tape tied on a cane so it can be hung from the wrist while walking upstairs

bicycle baskets-strapped to a walker to store necessities and leave the hands free

an egg carton-to organize pills

rubber safety mats-ideal for the tub, shower, or any slippery surface; also useful to make place on trays and tables for a nonslip surface

key-put the end of the key that you hold into a large cork for ease of grip

foot-operated door levers-made by attaching rope to a "stirrup" and tying it to the lever handle

language tags-cardboard tags with words that can be used to express needs

light-switch enlargements-made by putting a rubber pen cap over a light switch

enlarged pull switches-made by putting a plastic ball over small switches

clips for canes-spring clips or Velcro[R] placed on favorite chairs to keep a cane from falling

bedside rails-wooden rails attached to the floor at right angles on swivel hinges

pull rope-rope attached to the footboard of the bed to help someone change positions in bed

Specialized Hospital-Type Equipment

oxygen tanks, for use when oxygen is needed as a medication

breathing tube (transtracheal oxygen therapy equipment), for use when oxygen is delivered into the lungs through a flexible tube that goes from the neck directly into the trachea (sometimes called the windpipe)

compressors and hand-held nebulizers (inhalers), which reduce medication to a form that can be inhaled

suction catheters, which clear mucus and secretions from the back of the throat when someone cannot swallow

home infusion equipment, or IV (intravenous) therapy, which delivers antibiotics, blood products, chemotherapy, hydration (water), pain management, parenteral (IV) nutrition, and specialty medications


Excerpted from The Comfort of Home by Maria M. Meyer Paula Derr Copyright © 2007 by CareTrust Publications. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Comfort of Home: A Complete Guide for Home Caregivers (3rd Edition) 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
VicksieDo on LibraryThing 24 days ago
This book is very well put together, and is addressed to the in family care provider for those with Alz. The book takes you through early diagnosis through the end stages of the disease, and gives practical clear advice on compassionate care for patients. Great guide!
fredalss on LibraryThing 24 days ago
I found the advice in this book helpful for my home care client's family. Many are exhausted with the stress. The suggestions have been useful for some.