When your loved one is bedridden due to illness, ongoing disability, or age, care-taking becomes more challenging. Without proper care, many complications can develop, including deep vein thrombosis, bedsores, pneumonia, and dehydration.
While these risks are serious, many families have successfully cared for bedridden caregivers at home. But it’s a situation you don’t want to take on without fully understanding the weight of care that will fall on your shoulders.
Before agreeing to care for your bedridden loved one at home, it’s essential to speak to their doctors.
Learn exactly what specialized care your loved one will require. Have the nurses teach you as much as possible, so you are better prepared.
Taking care of your bedridden loved one
When your loved one is confined to bed here are some ways to provide the best care.
Create a space for your loved one
You will need a space in your home for your loved one and all of their equipment. You will need an accessible space, that’s not upstairs.
Think about your home, and brainstorm areas to use. Some families have an extra bedroom they use, while others partition off a portion of their living room with curtains to use.
Ideally this space will be close to a bathroom. This will be handy when dealing with bedpans or providing sponge baths.
Natural lights from windows can help emotionally. If this isn’t possible, ensure the area is well lit. Your loved one will appreciate the light and being able to see clearly makes care-taking tasks easier.
Staying in bed is hard on the body. Muscles deteriorate from lack of use, joints stiffen, bedsores can develop, and constipation becomes likely.
To help alleviate some of these symptoms, your loved one will need assistance with movement. Speak to a physical therapist to see if there are any range of motion exercises your loved one can do. Learn how to properly turn your loved one to minimize bedsores.
Bedridden patients need around the clock care. When they need to use the bathroom or soil a diaper, they need cleaned quickly so they don’t develop rashes or infections.
Providing this intense care is hard on caretakers, so it’s essential to have backup. You can utilize home care assistants to help. Some offer overnight care, which can allow you to sleep.
These services require their aids to undergo a background check, so you can feel confident leaving your loved one in their care.
If paid assistance isn’t in the budget, look for other ways to get a break. Are there other family members who could cover shifts? Do you have friends who are willing to help? Does your community offer any resources to cover these services?
Use the right bedding and undergarments
When your loved one is bedridden, it’s essential to keep their body dry. This means their bedding and clothing needs to be carefully selected for absorption.
Cotton clothing is a good choice, since it will absorb sweat and allow the skin to breathe. You want to select bedding that is soft, and breathable. You can buy absorbent pads to lay on top of sheets to help catch any urine leaks.
You will likely need equipment to provide adequate care. A hospital style bed allows you to elevate your loved one’s head and re-position them more easily. There is equipment to help with transitions, which can keep strain off your back.
Work with the doctors to seek insurance coverage on this durable medical equipment. The sooner you can begin using it, the easier your care-taking will be.
Do you know someone who is caring for a bedridden loved one? Please share this article with them.