December 18, 2020
Brian Consiglio: When patients are discharged from the hospital, they are often cared for by a family member before returning home. However, family caregivers can be overwhelmed by a lack of training and experience when it comes to home health care services, like wound care and medication management.
To improve coordinated care after a loved one is discharged home from the hospital, MU nursing professor Jo-Ana Chase interviewed family caregivers about the tasks they completed for a loved one, such as changing bandages or giving medication. In her study, she found that caregivers often struggle with these tasks, and resources like home health care nurses can serve as a central point of contact to improve coordinated care.
Chase: “This information is critical for health care providers when they come into the home when we’re doing our assessment of the patient’s and the caregiver’s needs. We also need to understand what resources they are currently using, but also what resources, that I might know about as a health care professional, that the caregiver or patient might be unaware of.”
Consiglio: Chase added that caregivers should ask questions to home health care nurses, such as how best to use certain equipment or which room in the house is most appropriate for various tasks. In addition, social workers, senior centers and respite services can also help support undertrained and overburdened caregivers.
Chase: “Part of the goal with my research is to answer the question of how do we successfully engage these caregivers to help them understand the health care system, to help them access the resources that they need and to help them understand some of the activities they’re doing so that they can help support that patient better.”
Consiglio: I’m Brian Consiglio, with a Spotlight on Mizzou.