Looking after nanna

Managing hydration in the elderly with nursing services

Dehydration is a serious issue for elderly people, especially in the hot Australian summer. If not adequately assessed and rectified it can lead to serious issues including confusion, constipation, and even death. Here are some of the reasons that elderly people are particularly vulnerable to dehydration. 


As people get older they often suffer from incontinence. As a result, they can often put off drinking enough fluid, especially if they are due to go out in public, to avoid needing to urinate. Having regular discussions around continence with a nursing service can help them to devise strategies to manage incontinence including using continence pads. 


As people get older they can often also suffer an inability to move easily. This can lead to them avoiding drinking, both to avoid needing to go the kitchen and to avoid needing to go to the toilet. If mobility is becoming an issue, a nursing service can help to come up with strategies to deal with this as well including leaving easy grip water bottles filled around the house in convenient locations including beside the bed and by the couch. 


If a patient is already suffering from a cognitive issue that causes forgetfulness such as dementia it is all too easy to forget to drink, especially if waiting for bodily cues such as thirst. This can often be hard for visitors who see the patient early in the morning to observe as these symptoms tend to get more severe as the day goes on. This issue can often compound on itself as dehydration can also lead to forgetfulness. Nursing visits can help to assess mental status along with hydration, and work out ways to ensure that the person has cues to drink at day and at night. 

Diuretic medications

As people get older they often have complex health needs and take more than one type of medication. Some medications can have a diuretic, or water-shedding, effect. Nursing staff can play a vital role in monitoring the side effects of any medication and can recommend alternate medication or modified doses if a given medication is causing dehydration. 

If an elderly person in your life is living independently but having issues with dehydration it can be useful to get them regular visits from a nursing service. This can help to determine the root cause of the dehydration and work out some strategies to manage the issue. 

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In Touch: Telephones for Seniors with Disabilities

If your loved one is in a home or receiving assisted care, it is vital that he or she remains communicative and retains some independence. Regular phone conversations are one way of keeping socially active; however, there are several factors which can hinder phone use for seniors. Problems with sight, hearing, dexterity, mobility and memory mean that a specialised telephone may be needed. Ask your loved one’s care provider for advice in order to select the most appropriate product. Here are some features you may wish to consider.

Bigger Is Better

In recent years, smaller telephones have become desirable, but they are unsuitable for those with reduced vision and dexterity. Fortunately, telephones are available which have larger screens and buttons, allowing seniors to more easily see and input numbers. Look for models which have

  • lighted keypads to highlight numbers as they are pressed
  • voice confirmation which repeats the number as it is being input
  • speed dial so that family and friends can be contacted with the single push of a button

Loud and Proud

It is frustrating and worrying for seniors and their callers if they cannot hear the telephone ring. Seek out a telephone which has an amplified ring tone to ensure that your loved one doesn’t miss calls. Other helpful features may include

  • a visual call indicator which allows your loved one to see rather than hear that someone is contacting him or her
  • a model which allows a Bluetooth-enabled hearing aid to act as an extra speaker
  • a caption display window which shows what the caller is saying
  • an outgoing speaker to ensure that the person at the other end can hear

Keep It Handy

Even more so than the rest of us, seniors understand the despair of racing to answer the telephone only to have it stop when they reach it. Mobile and cordless telephones are perfect for many seniors with mobility issues as they can be taken everywhere. However, they are not ideal for those who have difficulty with their smaller size or forget where they left them due to failing memory. In this case, a voice-activated speaker telephone will allow your loved one to accept and make calls without the need to reach the device.

Picture This

As seniors develop memory loss, they may start to forget names. The contacts list for a regular telephone would be rendered useless. A programmable photo telephone allows you to put pictures of family and friends on the buttons. This can assist those with dementia or vision loss to easily connect with the right person. Photo dialers are also available as accessories which can be attached to a normal telephone.

Peace of Mind

The right telephone can keep your loved one in touch with the world and allow you to contact them directly at times when you cannot visit. If finances are a problem, your loved one may be eligible for government assistance to provide a telephone which caters for his or her disability. Alternatively, some of Australia’s main telecommunications providers offer disability telephones for the same rental fee as a regular telephone. For peace of mind, discuss options with your care provider and help your loved one keep in touch. Speak with a company like Bromilow Home Support Services Pty Ltd for further information.

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Reducing staff turnover at your nursing home

As a nursing home manager, you know that your senior caregivers are one of the biggest assets of your facility. Caring, engaged and experienced staff help you to attract and retain families into your facility, and ensure that the facility remains profitable.  

Here are some ways to help retain your staff, beyond monetary rewards.

Flexible shift rosters

Many of the staff working in nursing homes are simultaneously juggling their own family commitments, with the round-the-clock nature of working in a nursing home. While it can be easier for managers to only employ full time staff, part time staff can help cover for ill workers, training demands and break coverage during the shifts. Offering flexibility to swap shifts or work part time can help you retain your quality staff for longer.

Training and development

Allowing your staff to complete relevant aged care, enrolled nurse and registered nurse qualifications increases your flexibility within the centre to cover for leave. Staff will appreciate the extra training and are more likely to stay with a company that supports their constant up-skilling. Even for staff that currently have appropriate aged care qualifications, training sessions that show new and easier ways of completing standard tasks keeps workers on top of best industry practise and helps staff feel more empowered to complete tasks.

Additionally, as the mix of cases and additional care requirements can change between centres, it can make sense and improve job satisfaction to offer staff training that relates to the kinds of clients they might find challenging. Patients with mental health issues, long term substance abuse and complex family relationships can have care requirements that cause significant stress for carers, and these issues are not covered well in broad based medical training. Specialised training can help staff deal with these issues and experience less workplaces stress.

Input into the centre operations

One of the most important things you can do to improve staff turnover is to allow your staff to have input on ways on fixing issues. Workers compensation claims, where nursing home workers receive compensation for workplace injuries, are higher when there is little social support and workers have lower levels of education. When the staff cannot correct outstanding safety and workflow issues in their workplace, the effects are often seen in higher workers compensation claims and staff turnover. Simplified workflows can improve staff satisfaction and help maintain staff in their roles.

Reducing turnover in your senior caregivers helps you offer the best quality of care for your patients. Look beyond monetary remuneration to find ways of reducing staff turnover that are effective and improve your centre long term. For more information, contact a company like Care Givers Pty Ltd.

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