What are some good questions to ask a health nurse when they are evaluating a senior?

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as to what kind of care they need, either in home care

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If you are deciding between in-home care and a rehab facility or nursing care home, you should ask exactly what activities of daily living they need help with, what is involved in your loved one's medical care (anything from medication, bandage replacement, colostomy bags...). Then ask about mobility and safety needs and dietary restrictions or feeding needs going forwards. After you have all that information, and the occupational therapist asks you about stairs and other obstructions in your home, only then can you decide whether you are willing and able to take on the task. Alternately, would you and s/he be better off in a skilled nursing facility? Keep in mind too that if someone is bed-bound you will probably need someone in the house at all times, at least while they are recovering their mobility.
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After my mother fell the Visiting Nurses Association (paid for by Medicare) showed up several times for a few weeks. *I* was asked a lot of questions! My mother's paid caregiver and I answered and asked questions, they were very thorough about medications and safety in the home. One of them bought and installed a better grab bar on the bathtub, and put foam and tape over sharp counter corners. She put up signs on the doors and walls on bright colored paper - "bathroom" , "bedroom", 'DO NOT ENTER OR GO DOWN STAIRS', 'Food for you is in this refrigerator'. They helped me with the Medicaid form and filling out applications for a couple of nursing homes, we all agreed my mother couldn't continue to live there for long stretches alone. (this was separate from the nurses who did an evaluation to see if mom was ready to go in a nursing home, bypassing assisted living.)
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A nurse from an agency has a long list on a form to ask you and about the patient should they not be able to converse. Just ask anything you would want to know about care for yourself. Humans are humans and we all need basic care and then you will need to tell the nurse about specifics of your loved one. It is not scary! If you have any reservations, then ask for a second opinion.
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The only contribution I have to this discussion is ask, assuming your loved one is at home, what needs to be done to improve home safety, e.g. grab bars to tub/shower and toilet, handrails to stairs. This may be beyond the scope of the nurse's professional level of comfort, but he/she should be able to direct you to another professional for this info if necessary.
And one more thought: the nurse may have some idea whether some diagnostic tests are indicated and the value thereof. May God bless.
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I meant review. More coffee needed...
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Rescue= record
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All good suggestions here! To aid the nurse, have all of your loved ones current medications gathered together, as the nurse will need to rescue and document what is being taken. There will be questions about safety - has your loved one had any recent falls? Are they able to safely manage their own medications, or do they require assistance? Are they able to prepare any meals for themselves, or do they require assistance with that as well?

You've gotten a very comprehensive list prepared, which is very helpful.
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Great information above.

I might also ask about whether your state has a standardized form that the health care professional completes and signs. It has boxes to check off for the patient's needs and recommendations. Depending on what services she needs or applies for, they may require that form be completed. I know it's required a lot for AL's, but it might also be required for providers that come into the home in some states.
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An assessment comes first where the nurse spends some time with the person and assesses what his/her needs are and will be in the near future.

Then the nurse develops a care plan. This is a good time to ask questions and I'm sure the nurse would appreciate input from family to implement an effective care plan.

The nurse is evaluating the senior for in-home care? I'd ask the following:

* What activities of daily living (ADL's) will my loved one need assistance with?

* What supplies will I need to have in the home?

* What kind of assistance does my loved one need with ambulating? Does she need full assistance? Minimal assistance? Stand by assistance?

* Is a bath aide necessary to give my loved one showers a couple of times a week?

* Does my loved one need hospice at this time?

* Is there any skin breakdown?

* Is my loved one experiencing any pain?

* How much in-home care is recommended? Around the clock? Just days (or nights)? For most of the day?

* How can I assimilate in-home care into my loved one's daily routine?

These are just a few basic questions to get a dialogue going about what your loved one may need from in-home care. Other topics will come up during this discussion and lead to more questions and answers.

Once all the discussion is done and there's a tentative care plan in place ask the nurse what your loved one's goals are. What goals did the nurse create for your loved one? To ambulate without assistance? To complete PT exercises everyday? To maintain the level of independence your loved one is at at the time of the evaluation? Keep in mind that goals change as your loved one changes and that they're not written in stone.
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