Outpatient care - what to look out for?

Sooner or later everyone has to deal with the question: how should it continue in old age? Whether it's your own or the future of your parents, it's important to have a plan before the strength wears off, the illness gets worse, or your memory weakens. Around 80 percent of people over the age of 50 would like to have outpatient care at home in the case of long-term care. In this way, not only the familiar environment, but also a piece of freedom and individuality can be preserved. But when choosing the right care service, there is a lot to consider.

Outpatient care: helper instead of intruder

Ideally, the life partner, a child, or another relative agrees to take care of the person in need of care several times a day. However, due to employment, family or other responsibilities, this is not always possible - at least not in full - and a professional caregiver is needed to help.

This not only relieves the relatives, but also gives them more time. Instead of wasting valuable free time with feeding, washing and cleaning, one can leave such care services to a professional and in the meantime take a walk with the patient, play cards or read something to them.

Although it is unusual for older people to share intimate matters such as personal hygiene or going to the bathroom with a stranger. At the same time, it is also unpleasant for many people, for example, to be suddenly washed by their children, who looked up to them all their lives, or have them brought to the toilet. Such situations may be less of a problem for a professional than for one's own relatives.

Trust in the gut feeling

Nevertheless, the caregiver should treat the patient as lovingly as possible, as if she were related to him. There are qualitatively great differences in care services here. While some work carelessly and in staccato fashion and dispatch their customers by the minute, others take time to listen and listen to their individual needs. The choice of the right care service should therefore be well thought out.

Listen to the acquaintances about your experience with care services, ask your GP and visit the services available for you personally. Get to know the employees there in a personal conversation. Pay attention to your gut feeling. Do the caregivers work happily and motivated, or are they stressed and disinterested? Ask in conversation whether care is always taken by the same caregiver or whether you need to adjust to a new face every day.

Outpatient care: benefits vary

The better the nurses are trained, the better care you can expect from them. This is especially true if you need regular medication or injections. The more help you need, the more comprehensive the offer of the service should be.

So first think about the areas in which you need help: Should the caregiver help in the household, clean, bring food, administer medication, do shopping and running errands? Or is it enough for someone to see what happens twice a week? Inquire in advance if the nursing service also offers all the services you want.

Out-patient care - around the clock in the vicinity?

Pay attention to cleanliness and hygiene: Do the employees wear clean clothes, do they look well-groomed, are they well equipped with auxiliary material? Last but not least, the physical proximity of the nursing service is important in order to be able to quickly be on the spot in an emergency. Inquire as to whether a standby service is available on weekends and nights.

In addition, the nursing service should be networked with other institutions that are important for personal care, such as family doctor or social services. In general, it is of course important that the nursing service can bill its services with nursing and health insurance companies. Depending on the level of care, the patient will be reimbursed by the health fund for the cost of the care service.

Care alone is not enough

To enable life at home in old age, a good nursing service is often not enough. If old, frail people live alone, various renovations should be made in the apartment to make everyday life easier and to prevent accidents. These include, for example:

  • the installation of ramps and stairlifts
  • the attachment of handrails and handholds
  • the lowering of shelves and wall cabinets
  • the installation of a shower seat or a bathtub lift
  • increasing the bed and the toilet seat

If old people are supported by such aids and a friendly, competent and reliable care service in their own four walls, then nothing stands in the way of a self-determined life.

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