Knowing how to take care of a patient at home can help you make feel confident and that you have the resources you need to carry out your task.
Read our tips on how to keep your patient comfortable and the rest of the household safe…and how to protect your own health and well-being too.
Care for them separately
If possible, set up a space where you can care for the sick person separately from the rest of the household.
Ideally, they should have their own bedroom and bathroom. If this isn’t possible, clean shared facilities on a regular basis and ensure that windows are opened at intervals to maintain good air circulation and reduce the risk of infection.
Maintain scrupulous hygiene
When you’re caring for someone who has had an infection, act as though they are still contagious. This means you will have to wipe down all surfaces regularly with a disinfectant solution, paying special attention to high-touch surfaces like door handles, light switches and bathroom fixtures.
Monitor the patient’s health regularly
You don’t have to be an expert to monitor your patient’s health status. Invest in some simple equipment like an infrared forehead thermometer to keep track of their temperature. If they develop a fever – which is a temperature of 38 °C or above – you can take the following steps:
- Offer them plenty of fluids like water and juice.
- Ensure they are dressed in lightweight clothing.
- Keep their room at a comfortable temperature.
You should seek medical help if your patient has a fever with:
- A severe headache
- Light sensitivity
- Stiff neck
- Skin rash
- Breathing difficulty
- Abdominal pain
You can also use an oximeter to measure the oxygen saturation level of your patient’s blood. A level of 95 per cent is the normal reading for healthy people. If your patient has a level of 92 per cent or lower, then you should seek medical help immediately.
Offer a nutritious diet
Offer your patient nutritious food to help them recover from their illness and build up their strength.
Include plenty of protein, which you can find in meat, tofu, beans, milk, eggs and yogurt, to help build and repair tissue.
You can also include foods that are high in nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants like:
- Leafy green vegetables
- Sunflower seeds
- Sweet potatoes
Encourage gentle exercise
Encourage your patient to practise some easy, gentle exercise to aid their recovery and keep them mobile.
If your patient is able to sit on a chair, they can try:
- Chest stretches - Pulling their shoulders back and down, they should extend their arms to the side. Then get them to push their chest upwards to feel a stretch.
- Arm raises - With open palms, raise arms out and to the side, then up as far as possible.
- Hip marches - Lift the left leg up with the knee bent. Place the foot down and alternate with each side of the body.
If you are caring for an elderly patient at home after Covid and they are unable to get out of bed, you can suggest they try gentle leg lifts, hip thrusts and hand stretches.
Help them keep their mind active
Illness not only affects the body but the mind too. Spending long periods of time isolated and bedbound may take its toll on your patient, so keep their mind active with activities like:
- Card games
- A subscription to their favourite newspaper or magazine
- Discussion about current affairs
- Art and craft activities
Don’t forget to protect yourself too!
Wear a face mask when you are attending to your patient to help reduce the risk of spreading infection between you.
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after contact with your patient.
Use hand sanitiser in between handwashing to help prevent the spread of infection.
And make sure you have regular breaks so that you can recharge your batteries. Have another family member or a professional carer available at set times so that you can have some time off to rest and relax.
Let us help you make caring at home easier
At FeverMates, we’re here to help look after the health and well-being of you and your loved ones.
We stock a wide range of products that can make caring for a family member at home easier and safer, including hand sanitiser spray, face masks, thermometers and oximeters.
Take a look at our sister site MediBC for more medical supplies and first aid kits too!
Check out what we have on offer and order safe in the knowledge that we deliver our products quickly throughout Australia whenever and wherever they are needed.