How to select the best living aids for your aged care patients
Living aids play an essential role to improve the quality of life for your aged care patients, supporting them and enabling more independence than they would otherwise have.
However, with the budget constraints that limit most healthcare practices, it is important that the best selection is made to optimise value.
This guide will help you through the process of how to select the best living aids for your patients.
Consider the Options
Firstly, do some research and find out what living aids are available to improve the daily function of aged care patients. There are many options that may be beneficial for your purposes, including:
- Mobility aids (e.g. wheelchairs, scooters and seat walkers)
- Bedside commode
- Dressing aids
- Recliner chairs
- Vision aids
- Hearing aids
- Mattresses and Pressure Care
- Medication aids
- Toilet seat raisers
- TENS therapy and electrodes
- DVT circulation stockings
- Ergonomic Seating
- Shower and bath aids
- Cushions and pillows
- Walking sticks and accessories
Once you have a good idea of the options available, you will be better equipped to make the best decision when making selections.
Prioritise Unique Benefits
Next, think about how the living aids will benefit your aged care patients, based on their individual needs. Each practice has a unique patient base and, for this reason, the most useful living aids will vary. It is helpful to write down how different aids will benefit your patients and to answer specific questions such as:
- How will it improve the ability to function?
- Can multiple patients use it?
- Is it durable enough to last for several years?
The exact questions you should ask depend on the characteristics of your practice and which features are most important for your patients.
Make Your Budget Last
Stretching your budget to get the most value for the funds you have available is essential to offer the best patient care.
Similarly to other financial decisions in health, it is helpful to quantify the benefit and durability of each living aid, balanced against the monetary cost. This helps to separate valuable aids over the long-term from those that may occasionally help a patient but primarily sit in storage.
To make your budget go further, investing in living aids that are built to last and able to serve multiple different patients often offer the best return on investment.
Continually Reassess Patient Needs
Finally, it is important that your selection of living aids for your aged care patients is not a once-off decision, and you continually revisit the situation to improve patient care. This is important because the needs of your patients can vary considerably over the years and the living aids available may also differ with time.