When you are caring for a parent it is important to keep in regular contact with the medical community. Talking regularly with doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, and social workers is critical in making the best decisions you can. Not only will this help you to get results, but it also will give you peace of mind. Talking with healthcare professionals comes down to three things.
1. Giving them all pertinent information about your parent so they can make an informed medical opinion.
2. Asking the right questions to get the information and answers to any questions you or your parent has, this will help you when it comes time to make decisions.
3. Getting the information, services and the quality of care your parent deserves.
While you may want to know everything about your parent’s health condition, they may be reluctant to tell you everything you want to know. It’s important that you respect their decision in regards to how much information they are willing to share with you or how willing they are to communicate with their doctor or nurses. All you can do is inform them of the importance of communicating in regards to their health, and that your main concern is they receive both safe and effective care.
If your parent is hesitant to talk to the doctor, but is open with you, you can, with your parents permission talk to the doctor or nurse yourself. If you are the one to talk to the doctor make sure you ask questions. Write any questions you have on paper before hand. This way you won’t forget to ask anything important. It is just as important to receive information from the doctor as it is to give information to the doctor. The doctor needs all relevant information about your parent in order to make the correct diagnosis and prescribe the proper treatment that is both safe and effective.
In addition to doctors, it’s important that both you and your parent talk to other health care professionals such as nurses, pharmacists, social workers, and dietitians.
Nurses are trained in patient education and counseling. A nurse can explain the doctor’s diagnosis and teach you how to follow any treatment required, take blood pressure at home, and how to give injections.
Pharmacists are experts in drugs. They are there to answer any questions you may have regarding the medication the doctor has prescribed. They will inform you of any side effects to watch for and how to use the medication properly.
Social Workers are available to help you navigate the social security system and the medical care. If there are programs available to help you, a social worker will direct you in that direction.
Dietitians are available to provide information on meal planning. Certain medical conditions require a special diet and a dietitian can help you set up the proper diet for your needs.
As a caregiver you are now also your parents advocate. While the medical profession has the medical expertise, the quality of service and attention are not always there, so you have to take an active role in getting the best service possible.
Professionals working within mental health care facilities and dealing with individuals with learning disabilities, autism, challenging behaviour or special needs, will know that bites from humans are relatively common in their work environments.
If you are one of these professionals, then you will also know that bite related injuries can become infected.
Most of these human bites occur on the fingers or hands, and may be contaminated with pathogens, even if there are no clinical signs of infection. However, the transmission of viruses (e.g. hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV) following human bites is much less common.
The Department of Emergency Medicine at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough published a study in 2008. This study illustrates the fact that a retrospective 4-year review of 3136 case notes was conducted, identifying 421 human bites. This amounts to one every 3 days!
The management of these wounds was found to be poor. 17% of patients did not receive any antibiotic cover; 21% of patients either did not have tetanus prophylaxis administered when required or had a tetanus booster when they were already covered; 34% of patients either did not receive a hepatitis B booster when one was required or received one when they were already covered.
Should a bite incident occur within your organisation please immediately assess if the bite has broken the skin, and put on record who was bitten, by whom, when and where.
Please note that if the bite is particularly severe, the injured person might be in need of urgent first aid treatment, such as control of bleeding. Medical advice should be sought for all human bites which break the skin. Full clinical assessment should be carried out to investigate any potential infection, foreign bodies, damage to blood vessels, nerves, tendons, joints or bones.
If the bite has broken the skin you need to encourage the wound to bleed, clean the wound carefully with running water and cover the wound with a waterproof dressing. Then seek medical attention and ensure a proper clinical assessment.
Bite resistant clothing can make a difference…
All activities within mental health care facilities are of course undergoing specific risk assessments in order to reduce the risk of workplace related bite attacks and bite injuries. So, there is only that much we can do in order to prevent injuries and reduce the risk of bite injures using better procedures, systems or policies. Can bite resistant clothing help?
The use of bite resistant clothing has now become a very effective approach to improve the personal safety of mental health care professionals, reducing the risk of infections.
Especially bite resistant sleeves have recently been issued to a number of mental health care professionals. Our normal instinctive response when faced by a potential hostile or attacking individual is to lift our arms and hands in order to protect our head and facial area. This subsequently exposes our forearm and hands to a much higher risk of injuries. In fact the majority of injuries found on police or security professionals can be found on their forearms or hands. These injuries are classed as defensive injuries. Bite resistant sleeves will dramatically reduce the risk of bite injuries on arms and hands.
All bite resistant garments can comfortably be worn under any existing item of clothing or uniform. However, it is worth pointing out that bite resistant clothing reduces the risk of human teeth penetrating the other person’s skin very effectively, but will not stop the potentially painful effect due to the pressure and force of the human jaw. So the risk of infection will be eliminated, but the risk of bruising remains.
Only a very few specialist manufacturers of protective clothing are capable of creating bite resistant clothing offering an even higher bite protection level, which can be achieved by adding either very thin and flexible layers of leather, rubber, polyethylene (plastic) or other advanced technical materials. This type of bite resistant clothing would substantially reduce the pain created by the crushing force and subsequent bruising.
Some mental health care professionals might prefer such high level of bite protection, as it can offer great protection for very specific areas, such as the female breasts, which have often been subject to very violent grabs or nips.
If you have any questions in reference to bit resistant clothing please do not hesitate and contact the author.