With a growing number of Australians ageing in place at home, a new resource guides care workers, coordinators and informal carers on how to identify the signs of clinical deterioration.

Lorraine Poulos and Catherine Brown at the Sydney launch of their community care handbook.

The practical handbook written by trainer and consultant Lorraine Poulos and nurse practitioner Catherine Brown assists those involved in the care of older people to identify and report a change in condition, such as weight loss, missed medications or changes in mood.

Ms Poulos said the handbook aimed to facilitate improved communication between home care staff, clients and carers to work as partners in care.

The booklet has been designed for use in staff meetings and reviews, as a basic clinical resource for case managers and in information packs for consumers and carers, she said.

Informal and formal carers involved in the daily care of older people are the eyes and ears of the healthcare team, and are best placed to report when a change occurs, Ms Brown told Community Care Review at the launch of the book in Sydney on Tuesday.

“This handbook will teach families and direct care workers to be aware of the signs of deterioration and to intervene early to keep older people well and out of hospital,” she said.

The resource also functions as toolkit on basic clinical care and provides links to evidence-based web resources, useful apps and relevant organisations. The print book covers a wide range of clinical topics such as arthritis, cardiac changes, delirium and pressure injuries.

The resource also encourages a wellness approach and promotes goal-focused care planning, said Ms Brown.

Ms Poulos said a 2016 WA coroner’s case into the death of a home care client highlighted the importance of home care providers assessing their clients’ needs on an ongoing basis, including a change in condition.

The education resource has been written in plain English to ensure it is accessible to a wide audience and provides prompts to readers to observe and document any changes or concerns.

For more information and to order copies of the resource, A practical Handbook for Basic Clinical Care in the Home, contact: admin@lorrainepoulos.com.au

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