Managing A Safe, Clean, and Efficient Environment
Maintaining a safe, clean, pleasant, and efficient household can contribute to the general well-being of your Employer. Although many items in this section may seem like common sense, there are certain household management skills that can make your job more efficient for both you and your Employer.
Universal precautions are practices that help protect against infectious diseases. Clean anything that encounters bodily fluids to help maintain a clean home. For instance, immediately launder sheets or clothing that become soiled.
Hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of germs that cause infection. Hand washing helps to prevent infection from the Personal Care Attendant to the Employer and from the Employer to the Personal Care Attendant.
Wash Your Hands
- After using the bathroom
- After handling soiled items like linens, clothing, and garbage
- Before and after meal preparation
- After sneezing and coughing into your hand
It is important to ask your Employer about household preferences and practices before making changes to household routines. Homes may be set up in such a way to assist those with limited mobility.
Cleaning assistive equipment and devices
Wheelchairs, hand grips, railings, boards, and other assistive devices should be washed regularly with hot soapy water.
Using Proper Body Mechanics to Transfer
Using proper body mechanics means using lifting and moving techniques that reduce stress and strain on your body. Proper body mechanics are necessary when transferring a person from one place to another.
Techniques for Proper Body Mechanics
- Plan the job before starting.
- Never try to lift beyond your strength.
- Maintain a broad base of support. Keep feet apart, one foot slightly in front of the other.
- Keep back straight, with knees and hips flexed; keep your heels on the floor.
- Get a firm grip.
- Use the large muscles of the legs to lift, not the small muscles of the back.
- Never bend from the waist. Bend the knees.
- Keep your head up and your back slightly arched while lifting.
- Lift smoothly, letting your shifting weight do the lifting; avoid jerking.
- Pivot with your feet or shift your feet to turn and set the load down.
- Shift your weight backward slightly and bend your knees to set the object down.
Observing Abuse or Neglect
As a PCA, you will have the most hands-on contact with your Employer. Knowing what to look for in homecare abuse will be your Employer’s best defense for helping to prevent further abuse.
Definition of Abuse
Abuse is the infliction of physical, emotional, or psychological harm to a person. Abuse can also take the form of financial exploitation or intentional or unintentional neglect by the family, a friend, or a caregiver.
Physical abuse can range from slapping or shoving to severe beatings. When a caregiver or other person uses enough force to cause unnecessary pain or injury, even if the reason is to help the person, the behavior can be regarded as abusive. Hitting, pushing, pinching, burning, and biting are all forms of physical abuse. Abuse can also include depriving the person of food, over- or under-medicating, or exposing the person to extreme weather. It does not matter if these actions are done deliberately or inadvertently.
What to look for:
- Sunken eyes
- Bed sores
- Extreme thirst
- Repeated unexplained injuries
- Dismissive attitude about injuries
Emotional abuse can range from name-calling or giving the “silent treatment” to intimidating and threatening the person. When a family Consumer, caregiver, or other person behaves in a way that causes fear, mental anguish, or emotional pain or distress, the behavior can be regarded as abusive. It can also mean treating an older person like a child or isolating the person from family, friends, and regular activities- either by force or by manipulation through threats.
Financial exploitation can range from misuse of the person’s funds to embezzlement. Financial exploitation includes fraud, taking money under false pretenses, forgery, forced property transfers, or purchasing expensive items without the person’s knowledge. Financial abuse can mean denying the person access to their own funds or home. It can also include a variety of scams perpetrated by salespeople for health-related services, mortgage companies, and financial managers—or even so-called friends.
Other Types of Abuse
There are many different forms of abuse. Caregiver neglect can range from caregiving strategies that withhold appropriate attention from the individual while intentionally failing to meet the physical, social, or emotional needs of a person. Sexual abuse can range from sexual exhibition to rape. Sexual abuse can also include inappropriate touching and taking sexual photographs.
What To Do If Abuse Is Suspected
The previously mentioned characteristics are intended to be used as a guide to help you recognize a potential abuser. These suggestions are not all-inclusive.
Be aware of these behaviors and know that you have a duty as a Personal Care Attendant to report any signs of abuse!
Who To Call?
Whether the harm is happening at home, an assisted living facility, or nursing home, it is important to make a report.
If harm is happening right now, call 911
Adult Protective Services at 1-844-277-9300
You can also call a Self-Direct Specialist Ability Montana if you are unsure of what to do in the situation.
You have accepted a very important position working as a personal care attendant so someone can live independently in their own home. The work you do is significant in the life of your Employer, their family, and community.
If you have any questions, please call the Ability Montana office, and talk to the Self-Direct Team. We are always available to provide information and resources.