Safety & Suitability in the Home
There are many things to consider when thinking about home safety for a child or adult. The home should be the place you feel most comfortable and at ease. But there are dangers here too. We’ve put together a quick list of home safety tips to get you thinking about how safe your home really is.
- Try to avoid letting clutter build up- it is vitally important that you have space to get you and your loved one out quickly and safely when you need to!
- Always leave cleaning products out of reach of exploring hands and mouths, even in small doses they can be extremely poisonous and toxic!
- Keep saucepans of hot foods and liquids on a stable work surface at all times where they are unlikely to get knocked over, the last thing you want is for your dinner to leave you in hospital!
- Cover your electrical plug sockets to prevent curious fingers from being able to poke about!
- Watch out for corners and sharp edges, especially at head height! Think about covering or removing any unnecessary sharp edges from your home by using padding or opting for round furniture.
- Think about how easy you and your family find getting up from a chair, the toilet, or out of a bath! Wet surfaces in particular are slippy and seats can feel like a long way down to someone with limited mobility.
There are lots of ways to improve your home and personal safety, from contacting your local fire service for a fire safety assessment to making sure you don’t take risks that could lead to falls or accidents. For more ideas, take a look at Age UK’s Home Safety Checker. It’s specifically designed for older people, but contains lots of useful information.
Coming Out of Hospital
If someone you know is coming out of hospital, and can no longer care for themselves without your help, it can be a daunting prospect.
You may have never considered yourself as a Carer before, and it may take some time to come to terms with the new situation. Check out the New to Caring section for some helpful tips and find out what services are available in your area and what help you are entitled to in the Local Services section.
Even if you are already caring for someone, you may be unsure as to whether you can continue to support them when they come home. This might be for a variety of reasons, including a decline in your own health whilst they were in hospital. If this is the case you might consider requesting a carer’s assessment from the adult social services department of the local council of the person you are caring for. This will allow you to discuss, and the local council to determine, what support and services you need personally in order to continue in your caring role, if you wish to do so.
Do you feel safe?
Whether you are caring or cared for, you deserve to feel safe, confident, and comfortable at all times. While mistakes and accidents do of course happen, if this ever begins to become a repeating issue, you don’t have to just put up with it. If you or anyone you know has any concerns about their physical or emotional safety or wellbeing, either when caring or receiving care, please don’t continue in silence. As a starting point, you can contact your local service providers, GP or council for support.
Technology and Equipment Support
We live in a maze of technology to help with everything from getting up in the morning, to relaxing late at night. There is also a whole range of technology focused specifically on making your role as a carer easier to handle.
With so much technology to choose from, it can be a daunting and time consuming task to find what technology or equipment will best suit you. Carers UK come to the rescue with their guide to Technology and Equipment Support for Carers, including their own app Jointly, designed to help you share and organise a circle of caring for the person you are looking after.
With so much technology to choose from, it can be a daunting and time consuming task trying to find what technology or equipment will best suit you. Carers UK yet come to the rescue with their guide to Technology and Equipment Support for Carers, including their own app Jointly, designed to help you share and organise a circle of caring for the person you are looking after.
Carers UK also provide information on the following:
Creative ideas on how to use a just little bit of technology to your advantage every day.
Even the most basic caring equipment in the home can provide you with reassurance and even give more independence to the one you are looking after.
Technology and Care Services
For more specific help with the caring role itself, from complex monitoring devices to simple information apps.
Nutrition and Feeding
“Nutrition is an important but often hidden issue for carers and their families … 6 out of 10 carers worry about the nutritional intake of the person they care for.
N.B. This section focuses on the nutrition and feeding for someone else. If you are looking for tips and wellbeing advice for yourself, including a free guide from Carers Club with healthy recipes, hydration, and eating from a budget, go to our Health & Wellbeing section under Wellbeing.
If your caring role involves tube feeding, or it is something that you are considering, Carers UK have provided three free downloadable booklets from Nutricia, exploring the practical and emotional sides of tube feeding. While the booklet’s main focus is on tube feeding for children, it is free for everyone to access, and you may find it useful from a practical stance to download, print out, and have on hand when you can’t get onto the internet.
Moving People Safely
If you are caring for someone with restricted mobility, whether it is an adult or a child, it is important that you feel comfortable, confident, and in control when assisting them with movement.
Knowing how to move someone safely will reduce stress for you as the carer, but also make movement a much less traumatic experience for the one you care for.
Check out our Caring for Your Back section in Wellbeing to find out more about assisting someone safely.
This section also includes some of our top tips to manual assistance, whether that’s with or without specialist equipment. Most Carers support organisations offer training for Carers and it’s often free, Contact your local Carers Centre or your local council to find out more.
For many of us, caring is not something that we planned for or have received any sort of training in. Many organisation provide free training for carers in a variety of different locations, times, and subjects.
Attending just a couple of Carer-specific training sessions can prevent accidents and help you feel more confident and comfortable in your caring role. To find out about other training courses, contact your council or local support organisations.
If you are feeling rundown, unwell, or stressed, you are more likely to make a mistake or even cause an accident that could potentially harm you or the person that you care for. It is therefore important to make sure that you, as a Carer, feel happy, safe, and healthy as much as is possible in order to prevent accidents from happening.
Please see our Wellbeing section to find out more about how to look after yourself when caring, getting support in your role, and why this is so important in other ways too!
Emergency Planning & First Aid Training
We cannot always prevent the worst from happening. However, by planning ahead, we can prepare ourselves to deal with emergencies when they arise, in the best way possible.
Unfortunately we cannot control every aspect of our lives, sometimes situations crop up that we had not planned for. What we can control however, is how we respond to them; having a contingency in place for replacement care for your loved one is something that you can proactively do. To help you, take a look at this ‘What IF’ plan as a guide. Or you can use this ‘What IF’ template to produce your own plan and pin it to your noticeboard or fridge so family and friends can easily access it. ‘
You might also consider getting First Aid training. First Aid training is designed to give ordinary people the skills they need to keep somebody alive until the ambulance can get there. These skills, although fairly basic, can literally save lives. First Aid training will teach you how to react to a whole range of potentially life threatening situations, including what to do if someone is choking, how to do CPR if someone stops breathing properly, and what to do when someone has a severe allergic reaction.