Tips for Caregivers of Visually Impaired Persons (VIPs) in Care Settings
Meet my brother, Adam, age 80. He is blind and has been living independently in his own condo until now. With increasing cognitive confusion, balance problems, falls, and general weakness, he can no longer live alone and has moved into an assisted living facility.
Adam has lived a full and active live even after losing his sight at age 53 due to detached retinas. He has managed well for these last 27 years, keeping his positive attitude and generally cheerful nature.
But Adam lives in the big, black box of blindness. Imagine what it must be like to move into a new care setting.
Imagine: You live in a black box. The door to your box opens. A person comes in, makes some random noises, then leaves. Who is that person? What do they want?
Imagine. A person comes in and starts talking. Who are they talking to? To you? To the person in the next bed? The person pricks your finger and leaves.
Imagine. Someone hoists your feet up onto your wheelchair footrest. Why? Your wheelchair moves. Who is pushing the wheelchair? Where is this person taking you?
Many people check on you during the day in the course of their duties. Who are all these people? What are their names? What are they doing?
How would these nonverbal interactions make you feel? Confused? Irritated? Frustrated? Hopeless? Helpless? Depressed? All of the above?
Adam experiences all these feelings regularly. VIPs need lots of verbal interaction in order to become oriented to the care environment. Here’s how you can help.
1. Orient the VIP to people he will encounter each day.
Greet Adam. Identify yourself and your reason for being in his box every time you enter.
Hi Adam. I’m Valerie. I’m here to give your meds.
HI Adam. I’m Sarah. I’m going to check your blood sugar level.
Hey Adam. Simon here. I’m going to move your wheelchair away from this doorway so people can come in.
2. Get to know Adam as a person who has a wealth of experiences. Take a few minutes to engage him in conversation.
Our family posted some pictures in his box, and these became conversation starters for people who came in.
The speech therapist saw this next picture and asked about it.
Therapist. Oh, is that your dog? He’s really cute.
Adam. Yes. Her name was Peaches. She had cancer and died. (Peaches was a big part of his life in his early blindness. Adam still chokes up when he talks about her.)
Therapist. Oh, I am so sorry to hear that. I bet you loved that little dog.
This therapist made a personal, empathetic connection with Adam in this short conversation. She treated Adam like a person with feelings.
Brief interactions with Adam make him feel comfortable in new surroundings, and these new caregivers soon become friends. Personal connections are critical to the successful orientation of VIPs.
3. Wear your name tag every day.
Adam can’t read your nametags, but family and friends can. It’s hard for them to remember all the personnel who interact with Adam every day. Help them out. Wear your name tag. And post your name on a whiteboard in the room. Family members can help Adam remember your name and your role in his care.
Next tip coming soon: Orient the VIP to Place.
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NaBloPoMo 30: Fetta Komplett: Finished!
NaBloPoMo 30. The official last post of this challenge. This has been a fun run.
I tried to add a little spice with Nano Poblano.
One of my favorite things about blogging is meeting new bloggers. I load up on categories in my WordPress Reader and find new friends through NaBloPoMo, Cee’s Fun Foto Challenges, WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, Weekly Travel Theme, A to Z Challenge, Blog Every Day, Book Reviews, and a few more.
I enjoy getting comments and “likes” from my faithful visitors. That is so encouraging.
One comment from Soesterbror at http://brorsadu.wordpress.com had me chuckling. She told me about her great-grandmother…
I commented back that her comment made me think of my dear own little French grandmother, “Grannie,” who mixed English and French when she spoke to us kiddoes. I remember her clear as day, standing in front of her old wood-fired cook stove, with the family dogs Nellie, Queenie, Daisy, and Fluffy scattered around on the kitchen floor hoping for a bite to eat. Dada sat at the kitchen table reading the newspaper.
I don’t remember my Grannie saying “Fetta Komplett,” but my high school French told me that maybe “fetta komplett” meant the same as “fait accompli” or “job finished.” Sure enough, Soesterbror confirmed that.
So, today, I can say “Fetta Komplett” because I have finished my last post for NaBloPoMo 2013. Now on to the next challenge!
In the meantime, I want to thank my most faithful commenters. Your comments always made my day. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my posts. And I have enjoyed looking at your posts, too. (Sorry Soesterbror, I can’t read yours! Special thanks for writing your comments to me in English. )
Linda Adams http://garridon.wordpress.com/
Nina Amir http://howtoblogabook.com/
Marilyn Armstrong at http://teepee12.wordpress.com
Blogagaini at http://blogagaini.com
Melissa K. Brander http://mkbrander.com
Tami Clayton at http://tamiclayton.com
Dawn at http://lingeringvisions.wordpress.com
Sheri de Grom at http://sheridegrom.com/
Dhriti at email@example.com
nancyrae4 at http://nancyhdoyle.com/
Cee Neuner at http://ceenphotography.com
Sara Foster at http://www.sarafoster.com.au/the-blog/
frizztext at http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/
Gaurab at Processing the Life
Glorious Mettle http://gloriousmettle.wordpress.com
Festival of Leaves http://festivalofleaves.wordpress.com
Vicky Inglis http://longingtostray.wordpress.com
Isadora at http://isadoraartandphotography.com/
Danny James https://raleighcatdaddy.wordpress.com
Helen Jameson http://helenjameson.wordpress.com
RFL Jenksy http://rfljenksy.wordpress.com
Karen Mulhern http://smallhouseBigGarden.wordpress.com
K. C. Lee
Lynne at http://Lynnesartandsoul.wordpress.com
Kim Ulmanis http://kimulmanis.com
Kim13 at http://kh1313.wordpress.com/
Kylie at http://thelifeofkylie.wordpress.com
MarneyMae at http://marneymae.wordpress.com
Melissa at http://mkbrander.com/
Nancyrae4 at Http://nancyhdoyle.com
Joanna Henley at http://www.ojosworld.com/
Open lab 2 at http://openlab2.wordpress.com
Ordibild.com http://ordibild.com In the Middle of the Night
Liv Rancourt http://livrancourt.com
Soester at http://brorsadu.wordpress.com
Sue at ismbishop.aol.com
Shrimp (the kat) at http://hairballexpress.wordpress.com
Cheri Speak at http://cherispeak.com
Jodi Lea Stewart
Teresa at http://www.thefatcactus.com
Bruce Thiesen http://brucekthiesen.wordpress.com
Tina Schell at http://travelsandtrifles.wordpress.com/
Cathy Ulrich at http://largeself.wordpress.com
Verena Cave at http://verenacave.wordpress.com/
Irene Waters http://IreneWaters19.wordpress.com
Wise Monkeys Abroad at http://wisemonkeysabroad.wordpress.com
Woolymuses at http://woolymuses.wordpress.com
Zeke Chronicles http://thezekechronicles.wordpress.com
And special thanks also to all those who stopped by and “liked” my blog. It would take me quite awhile to post the links to all of you…and it’s getting late. So I will post my links to you at another time.