Home Care Of The Sick
( Originally Published 1936 )
HOME CARE FOR SICK SEEN OFTEN BETTER THAN HOSPITAL
THE home care of the sick by a member of the household is, in many cases, a necessity for financial reasons, and under no circumstances is it to be despised. Most sick people are more comfortable at home than at a hospital, and for most illnesses, even those that require confinement to bed, the patients are actually safer at home. We have entered a hospital era in this country during the last decade, plunged on hospitals, and it has led to the idea that a sick person is not really doing himself justice unless he is sick in a hospital.
A hospital is a place for the homeless, or for strangers in the city, if they fall sick, and for just a few diseases that can be better treated there than at home.
Every household, then, should have one member who is the official nurse. It will probably be the same one who does the cooking and the house cleaning and the dish washing, but that's all right. She can take over the other job better than suffer watching the other one make a mess of it. "Just like everybody else," as the fellow said when he was asked what his daughters did—"One of 'em does the cooking, and one of 'em takes painting lessons."
The official trained nurse of the family should, like the professional trained nurse in the hospital, help the doctor, not attempt to take his place. She should learn to read a fever thermometer accurately and take the patient's temperature at regular intervals. She should also learn to count the pulse and determine whether it is regular or not.
These things should be recorded in the form of a chart, similar to the chart the trained nurse keeps. It is so easy to forget the order in which events happened and the time when they occurred that the chart is a primary necessity.
With the time recorded in the first column, the events of the day are accurately recorded. In the column on "remarks" one can note such things as "patient sleeping," "restless," "complains of head-ache," "vomited," "coughed up some blood—saved for doctor to see," "cleansing bath," "sponge bath for fever."
There is nothing that is better calculated to make a good nurse than to keep the record on one case accurately.