How to Start the Conversation about Home Care

It’s a sensitive conversation laden with emotions – in-home care. For anyone requiring nursing assistance or care, the thought of losing their independence, possibly due to illness or general weakness, and having to rely on someone for even simple chores can be desolating. This is the stigma attached to in-home nursing. Unfortunately, the undue emphasis that is given to the reasons for it dominates the conversation. Changing the narrative can help.

To begin with, it’s important to remember that in-home nursing isn’t confined to the elderly, although it is more prevalent in this age group. It is a service that is available to anyone seeking to recuperate and be cared for in the comforts of their home as long as it has been certified to be medically feasible. Instead of staying longer than one would like to in the hospital or rehabilitative centre, being at home can be emotionally comforting for some. Familiar surroundings, having loved ones around you (living or non-living things) as well as being free from the routine and regime of hospitals, is the peace of mind some need. Hence, it is important to dispel the myth that in-home nursing is only for the aged or sick.

Second, to receive in-home health services shouldn’t be perceived as a decline in one’s well-being. People change as they grow older. It’s a fact of life. But it doesn’t mean we have to surrender to these changes. Procuring in-home health care services isn’t a sign of defeat. Instead, it should be seen as ensuring a quality of life that commensurates with the stage of life one is at. Rather than having to fuss about too many things, leave them in the care of others and use their time as well as energy for other things that matter.

Sometimes, as suggested above, all it takes is changing the narrative. It may not lead to an immediate change of heart, but it can soften the resistance gradually. With that in mind, how can one start a conversation about in-home nursing?

1. Timing is everything

Having a conversation about in-home nursing when the need has grown urgent should be avoided; it only depresses the person involved. Resistance is to be expected, so discussing in-home nursing when the situation has turned grave can be a double whammy. Feeling pushed to the corner will reinforce the thought that the patient is growing helpless. Remember, their loss of independence is a major obstacle to be crossed.

Talking about in-home nursing is very unlikely to be a single conversation; there could be several of them. In-between each is an opportunity for the person to reflect on the move. Ideally, they must make the decision to engage with an in-home health care service provider. To this end, it is important the person does not feel subjected to your personal agenda.

A serene environment, not melancholy, must prevail during these conversations. Whilst it is a serious discussion, it shouldn’t come across as ‘terminal’; you’re exploring an idea. Staying open and welcoming feedback as well as suggestions should characterise these interactions. A chaotic, hurried and emotionally charged atmosphere is never conducive for such conversations.

2. Be sensitive to the other person’s needs, thoughts and feelings

A conversation about in-home nursing is a dialogue between two parties with mutual interests. As such, it is important to listen to their needs, thoughts and feelings – spoken or unspoken. Do not dominate the discussion with your reasons. This will only lead to them adopting a defensive stance. It might result in the discussion becoming confrontational.

In being sensitive, it is imperative for them to know their interests and priorities will never be overlooked or discounted; they will be weaved into the plan. However, it is important they never regard this as tokenism or patronisation. At some point in the discussion, it is important for them to know how the plan will work to meet their other personal needs.

When both parties are creating the playbook together, the chances of a mutually beneficial outcome is high. This promotes the co-ownership of the in-home nursing plan. In the very least, everyone will be willing to give the option a chance. That is a big first step.

3. Underline the positive outcomes

The keyword is underline, not exaggerate or overpromise. By emphasising the benefits of in-home nursing, it will be clearer to them how the arrangement will elevate their quality of life. For example, getting help to organise their medication or changing a wound dressing will free them to do other things they may find more pleasant and enjoyable. Or if it is increasingly challenging for them to maintain their personal grooming, getting help in this area will ensure they will be at their personal best at all times.

Lots of patience is needed during the conversations. It is a conversation to have over time. Empathy, not sympathy, is critical. To learn more about in-home nursing, contact Vital Home Health Services today.