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BaH conducts home care training session

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With an aging population, the ability to maintain a lifestyle in one’s own home is highly desired among seniors. That is why Bardstown at Home, a local non-profit, is looking to train more individuals on providing home care for the elderly.

“We fight to keep our independence as long as we can,” said Suzanne Reasbeck, a founder of the organization with a mission to help those 55 and older remain in their homes safely. “I think the movement is toward home care. If we would spend time learning more about how to do some of the basic care tasks that people need,” it’s the wave of the future.

Established in 2011, Bardstown at Home currently helps its members by offering assistance with tasks such as grocery shopping, wellness checks and transportation to doctor’s appointments.

“What we do meets some of the needs of the people we take care of,” she said. But they could do more.

Citing a census projection that by 2030, one in four Nelson County residents would be 65 and older, Reasbeck said being prepared for those numbers is important.

“We decided that it might be helpful if we put together a home care training class,” for those who want to learn more about what they will be tasked with if providing care for someone else.

Gathered at the Enrich Me Learning Center last week, a handful of participants attended the training session for their own reasons.

Some, like Reasbeck, had prior experience in assisted living and nursing home care, and were interested in learning more.

Some were there because they had previously cared for or struggled finding proper care for their parents or a spouse, while others wanted to be prepared if they needed to be cared for themselves.

“I hope that I live long enough to have the problem of needing caregivers,” and want to know more about the proper procedures and approaches, said Lyda Moore, current BaH director, on attending the training.

The program, led by Reasbeck and BaH Board members Sue Bennett and Sue Fawkes, was made possible with the help of a grant from the Albert and Leona Haydon Foundation.

The discussion focused around a textbook, “Caregiving in The Comfort of Home,” and was broken down into several topics.

The first topic the group covered was establishing a “Plan of Care.”

“Sit down and develop a plan,” Reasbeck said. “What do they really need?”

The plan includes understanding the person's diagnoses, medications, limitations, needed equipment, dietary needs, developing detailed care instructions and knowing available services or assistance. The information should be written down and available and understood by all who may be providing care for the individual.

Fawkes also pointed out the importance of the caregiver having access to the person’s medical records and information and maintaining contact with the physician.

Falling in line with the plan of care, the group then discussed having an emergency plan, referencing a form inside the textbook that could be filled out and distributed to those involved in care delivery.

“What do you do in the case of an emergency?” Reasbeck asked, which could also include a list of emergency numbers, doctors, medications and procedures. Open and continuous communication with family members is also important, she said.

Next, participants were taught about the importance of self-care and avoiding caregiver burnout.

“If you’re a caregiver, you have to take care of yourself,” Reasbeck said. Caregivers should make time to eat, sleep exercise, play, pray and reach out for help when needed.

“Take time off,” she said. “Plan to be away for a couple days.”

Without taking care of one’s self, the caregiver can experience burnout, becoming overwhelmed with fatigue and feelings of hopelessness, frustration, anger, resentment, guilt and sadness.

“If your job overwhelms you and overtakes you, then you’re not able to give back a whole lot,” Reasbeck said. “That’s the way burnout affects you.”

The remaining portion of the nearly three hour meeting looked at the importance of medication management including organization and distribution of prescriptions and why caregivers should carefully research medications to understand issues with side effects and interactions.

Resources such as “The Pill Book,” were brought up in the discussion, along with different pill organization approaches and prescription reviews with pharmacists.

During the session, participants also touched on transport — including loading and unloading with wheelchairs, and offering assistance in an appropriate manner.

The group planned to meet again Aug. 3 to review and continue training discussion.