The Must-Have Caregiver’s Product Checklist
Becoming a caregiver is not a decision you make overnight. Unless your spouse, parent or child unexpectedly falls ill, but in that case the decision is made for you. Either way, not only do you need to be mentally and physically prepared, but you also need to be properly equipped. You have to bear in mind that you will have to tend to a disabled person’s every need, even those that we all took care of by ourselves since we reached a certain young age, and which each of us would like to keep private for the rest of our lives.
The perfect example of that is arguably incontinence. With old age and certain conditions comes loss of control over one’s sphincters. The results are involuntary and unpredictable bowel movements and bladder emissions. As a caregiver, you need to keep adult diapers, pads, undergarments, briefs and underwear handy, as well as urinals and bedpans. These accidents can happen at any time, even in the middle of the night, and the last thing you’d want is to leave an immobilized patient in such a predicament until the morning light. A bedwetting alarm can be pretty useful in order to avoid that kind of uncomfortable situation.
Speaking of which, the patients that are under the supervision of a caregiver are very frequently bedridden. To keep them safe from bed bugs, mites, and other pollutants, as well as to protect them from incontinence-related humidity, you can use mattress protectors and absorbent underpads. It’s a caregiver’s job also to wash the patient. Transfer benches, showers stools and seats, raised toilet seats, grab bars, toilet safety frames, bath chairs, and bathroom mats are all helpful in these endeavors. A professional caregiver might not concern themselves with these items other than suggest them, since it is the patient’s family’s responsibility to install them in their home. But if you’re caring for a relative, then it’s your responsibility.
Other products that caregivers can’t simply be caught without include latex gloves, syringes to apply insulin shots to diabetic patients, sponges, gauze, tape, wound dressing and drainage items, band aids, cotton swabs, catheters, etc. In fact, a complete first aid kit is of the essence. Additionally, a caregiver should be familiarized with mobility aids such as wheelchairs, crutches, canes, and walkers. The fact that a patient has one of these doesn’t mean that they can suddenly move around without problems. On a final note, take into account that all the hardware in the world won’t amount to much if the caregiver doesn’t have the know-how (or at least the desire to learn), and more importantly, the calling.