In-Home Care; Elderly Mobility
How do I safely help a relative with their mobility?
Caring for an elderly relative at home can often involve helping them to stand up from sitting, assisting them to walk or get out of bed. These activities can often present risks to both you and the person including repetitive strain injuries, back or muscular pain and strain. Making sure you carry out these tasks safely is important for your own health so you can continue caring for your loved one.
Before Supporting a Person, find out:
· Do they need help to move or can they be encouraged to undertake the task independently
· Are there any obstacles in the way, is there space to move them
· Are you fit and healthy and strong enough to help them
· Is there anyone else that can help you
· Are you wearing suitable clothing and footwear
· Is the person ready to move and do they understand what to do
In-Home Care Safe Movement Principles
These principles should be followed every time you support a person:
Maintain an Offset Base
Always adopt an offset base with your feet slightly apart and one foot slightly forward to improve your stability. Balance can be improved by relaxing your knees and hips whilst maintaining an offset base.
Follow the movement of the person, ensure you are not stretching your arms/legs out to hold them.
Keep a Close Proximity to the Person
Stay as close to the person as possible to reduce the effect of leverage (the force needed to lift or move an object or person).
Avoid Top Heavy Postures
Keep your body in balance throughout all physical activity. Do not lift above shoulder height.
Twisting of the spine reduces the effectiveness of joints and muscles. This decreases the body’s capacity to work and increases the chance of injury.
Avoid sustained holding
Do not hold a person’s weight for a long time. Muscles are not designed to work for long periods. Sustained holding restricts the blood flow in the muscles, increases fatigue and the chance of injury. Muscles should only be active for short periods and then rested.
Avoid Fixed Holds
Don’t grip tightly onto the person your supporting, place an open hand on the person you are caring for to spread the load across the palm. This makes it more comfortable for you and the person and is the most appropriate method of applying force.
Lead with the Head
Prepare for and plan each movement. The movement of the body should be lead from the head. This acts to improve how your muscles react to the movement and makes the procedure safer.
Before supporting anyone with a moving and handling activity always make sure these four principles can be followed:
· Keep an offset base
· Stay close to the load
· Keep a Mobile base
· Avoid top heavy postures
In-Home Moving and Handling Training
Contact your council to find out if they run free courses or ask for a direct payment so that you can choose your own course.
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