Do you know your aids for the elderly? Worth knowing about assistive device management at the nursing home.

This article is written from a Swedish perspective. Hopefully, it can inspire interested individuals from other countries.

There are many types of aids in a nursing home. Many of them are medical technology products (MTP) and need to be checked and maintained at specified intervals based on the requirements in the product sheets. Others are work technical aids that help to make the employees' work environment safe. It could be tools that facilitate movement. Most homes also have care beds that can be adjusted in various ways and mattresses that reduce the risk of pressure sores. There are also alarms to reduce various risks. Functional aids and employees who understand how to use them correctly are fundamental to safe and secure care. Therefore, preventive maintenance of aids is important in the operation.

Foto: Mostphotos

Aids in elderly care

There are many different types of aids in a nursing home. There are personal aids that are only used by the person who had it prescribed. Then there are aids such as mobile lifting aids like floor lifts and sitting scales that the operation has for all who need it. In addition to this, there are traverses installed in an apartment that then belongs to the operation and is used for a resident who always needs to be lifted.

This also affects how the resident gets the opportunity to take part in aids. Personal aids are often prescribed by the occupational therapist. The occupational therapist also has the responsibility to educate and instruct the nurses so that they handle the aids in a correct way. In some regions, the individual can buy simpler aids themselves.

Personal aids

Aids are prescribed so that the resident can continue to take care of themselves as much as possible. Many regions have a central aid center that provides the aids. When aids are used, it is important to still work in a way that preserves function. This means that the resident's natural movement patterns should be maintained while the workload on the staff decreases.

It is common for those who live in a nursing home to have aids to move around. Not everyone may think that hearing aids and glasses are also important aids for the elderly. If these are dirty or without a battery, they are of no use.

The personal aids used in nursing homes have different purposes:

Personal medical treatment, for example, respiratory aids are prescribed by specialist care, special mattresses to avoid bedsores, blood sugar meters are prescribed at the residence by a nurse or occupational therapist.

Mobility, for example, canes, rollators, walking tables, and manual and electric wheelchairs. Often prescribed by the occupational therapist or physiotherapist. Some of them can also be purchased by the resident themselves.

Aids for communication and information, for example, hearing aids, visual aids. Not arranged by the nursing home but may still need to be taken care of there.

The premises of a nursing home are adapted to residents with functional variations from the start. Care beds are usually included in the basic equipment.

Work technical aids

Work technical aids are used to facilitate for employees. Examples of products often called work technical aids are personal lifts, beds, mobile shower and toilet chairs, and different types of transfer aids such as care belts, slide boards, slide mats, and turntables. The employer has a responsibility to ensure that there are the work technical aids needed to operate the care from a good working environment. The employee is obligated to use them and the employer says so.

The boundary between what is an individually prescribed aid, aid in care work or a work technical aid varies in different regions.

The use of aids usually requires training. Often it is the occupational therapist or physiotherapist who educates and instructs about the handling of aids. Formally, the employer is responsible for training on work technical aids.

Many aids are included in what are called medical technology products (MTP). These need to be checked and followed up regularly. The business is obliged to keep track of all MTP. It is therefore good to make sure to have product sheets and routines for the follow-up of MTP. All aids need to be maintained and cleaned regularly, sometimes every day.

Environmental adaptation or protective measures

Some aids can, if used incorrectly, be perceived as coercive measures. This applies to, for example, care belts or position belts and bed rails. The use of these requires the resident's consent and should be preceded by a risk analysis. Read more Omgivningsanpassning

Reflection questions - aids
Care staff:
- Do you receive good teaching and instructions on how to use different aids?
- Does the maintenance of the aids work?

Manager, nurse, occupational therapist and physiotherapist:
- Do you have safe routines for handling aids in the operation?
- Does the follow-up of medical technology products work?
- Do the employees receive the training they need to be able to handle aids in a safe and secure way?

Residents and relatives:
- Do the residents receive the aids they need for a functioning everyday life?

Erland Olsson
Specialist Nurse
Quality in Elderly Care

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