Home Care Nursing in Winter

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Winter season often turns out to be a testing time for people with health ailments, especially respiratory disorders and arthritis. Studies also indicate that the probability of a heart attack is more in winter. The chilly conditions can have an adverse impact on wound healing and it is often reported that post surgical rehab takes relatively longer time in winter.

The following article takes a look at how Home Care Nursing can be a boon in winter by taking a look at the disease condition and the best care that can be taken for the condition

Nurse with old woman

Rheumatoid Arthritis – tends to get worse during winter. The pain becomes acute during the cold weather and is further intensified if the moisture content in the air is high. This disrupts the blood circulation and causes a lot of pain. Rheumatoid arthritis thus requires more attention during the winter and having a nurse attend to your needs will ensure proper care.

How can a nurse help –

  • In severe cases, rheumatoid arthritis could affect your mobility. With the cold weather worsening the symptoms, it might become difficult for you to carry out routine activities like taking a trip to the washroom, wearing your clothes or even eating your food. A nursing attendant could help you out with these activities and make your day to day life easier.
  • Applying heat to the affected areas could provide a lot of relief to the pain and discomfort. A nurse can help with the application of hot compress to the affected area in an effective manner.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – This respiratory disorder tends to aggravate during the winter season. During this season, the severity of coughing and the amount of phlegm produced in the body goes up. Air pollution levels too surge during the colder months, making it difficult for those already suffering from breathing problems. Chances of medical emergencies related to the condition, including heart failure, pneumonia and pulmonary embolism are higher during the winters compared to other months. It is thus advisable to have a trained nurse by your side during these months.

How can a nurse help –

  • Different medications like beta-agonists that work as bronchodilators, anticholinergics which help to reduce bronchospasm and corticosteroids that contribute as an anti-inflammatory agents, can be monitored by the nurses at your home in case you have trouble breathing.
  • The oxygen level in your blood can become low if you suffer from COPD, as the lungs do not function to their optimum capacity. A nurse can monitor your oxygen level and if needed, put you on oxygen therapy. The process of assessing the level of oxygen and then bringing it back to normal through oxygen therapy, could become difficult for your family members to execute.
  • COPD puts a lot of stress on the heart. It is extremely important to keep an eye on the functioning of the heart if a person with this condition starts experiencing breathlessness. An ECG (echocardiography) can be conducted at home these days with devices that are portable and easy to use. Nurses are trained to use these portable ECG machines and call for help if required.
  • Moderate attacks could require you to undergo nebulization. Since the accuracy of the process determines its efficacy, it is best to go for professional help instead to doing the process on your own. If the mask of the nebuliser is not worn properly and the gas escapes from the gap between the mask and your cheek, or, if the vial containing the medicine is not attached to the device properly, then you would not get the desired result. This is why it is best to have a professional nurse supervise the process till you master it.

Pneumonia – is a lung infection that tends to aggravate in winter, especially in kids, the aged and those suffering from diseases that affect the immune system.  Symptoms like chest pain when a person breathes or coughs, reduced mental awareness in adults, fever with sweating and chills could become more severe and even lead to death. This happens because people prefer staying indoors during this season and become easily susceptible to contagious diseases, including flu. Also, reduced exposure to sunlight (best source of vitamin D) leads to a fall in your immunity levels and increases chances of contracting pneumonia.

How can a nurse help –

  • People suffering from pneumonia could have a blocked airway due to an infection or accumulation of mucus. There are different techniques and manoeuvres that can be done to provide relief from these symptoms. Nurses are taught to use specific devices to expel the mucus and phlegm, and perform the necessary techniques to give quick relief.
  • Nurses could also help you undergo chest physiotherapy. Undergoing this can help you cope with your condition in a more effective manner.
  • Collect sputum samples for testing at regular intervals.
  • It is important to keep an eye on your ABG (Arterial Blood Gasses) level especially if you have less oxygen reaching your tissues (hypoxia).

Receiving nursing care at home is a great stress reliever, and infact reduces your recovery time. Get in touch with a quality home care service provider to take care of your nursing needs this winter.

REFERENCES:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/lung/copd/copd-and-heart-failure#1

 

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Dr.Rajprabha Patra practiced as a Dental Surgeon for 5 years before making a switch into the business domain with an MBA from ISB. As the Product Manager for Counselling Services at Portea, she aims to make a difference in the way mental health is perceived in India.

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