5 Ways Patient Sitters Improve Patient Care

woman with companion carerAccording to the National Library of Medicine, approximately 700,000 to 1 million patient falls occur every year in hospitals in the U.S. Many healthcare facilities hire patient sitters to help reduce the number of falls and improve safety for high-risk individuals like post-surgical patients or seniors. Sitters also assist patients with basic self-care tasks like dressing, eating, and bathing.

What Are Patient Sitters?

Patient sitters, or hospital sitters, provide in-room care for patients in medical facilities. By providing nonmedical care and overseeing a patient’s well-being, sitters help alleviate the need for doctors and nurses to see to a patient’s primary care needs. A patient sitter’s daily responsibilities may include helping a patient perform basic self-care activities, monitoring their vital signs, and providing companionship to patients.

A patient sitter job description includes duties like:

  • Observing the patient and ensuring their safety
  • Helping patients perform essential life tasks that might be difficult because of their medical condition
  • Providing physical and emotional support
  • Identifying when to escalate care by notifying the medical team

Patient sitters work in healthcare institutions, such as hospitals, outpatient clinics, and long-term care facilities. They may also work at nursing homes, elder care facilities, or privately, providing in-home patient care. Here are five ways patient sitters improve patient care.

Provide Companionship and Personalized Assistance to Patients

Hospital visits or prolonged stays can be frightening for individuals, especially after surgery or if they’re suffering from confusion or psychological impairment. Patients may not be able to walk, get out of bed, or perform other basic daily life functions. Patient sitters reduce the demand for nurses and medical staff by helping patients with everyday needs like eating and getting dressed. They may provide engaging conversation or even sing or read to the patient, easing their mental state and making the hospital stay more pleasant.

Sitters provide compassionate companionship and can listen to a patient, helping to provide comfort and reassurance to them. This improves the patient’s mental state during their recovery period. Patient sitters can ease the burden on family members, who can trust that their loved one is well cared for and is getting their needs met if the family can’t be present during the entire hospital stay.

Increase Patient Safety

Hospital patients might be at risk of falling and causing more injury. Patient sitters help provide physical support and help fall-risk patients stand, walk, move around, and complete personal care tasks. Most facilities require patient sitters to complete CPR or basic life support (BLS) training, so they can provide assistance if a patient needs urgent care.

Patients may be disoriented or confused after surgery, and sitters can provide emotional support and help ease the patient’s distress. Patient sitters are trained to identify changes in a patient’s condition and times when clinical staff might need to be contacted. They can communicate quickly with hospital staff and escalate medical care when necessary.

Help Perform Basic Activities Without Needing a Nurse or Doctor

Trained medical professionals, like doctors and nurses, perform dozens of daily tasks. By taking care of the nonmedical needs of incapacitated patients, a patient sitter allows medical professionals to focus on performing specialized medical functions.

They may observe patients and are trained to notice significant changes in a patient’s condition. They might monitor vital signs like body temperature, pulse, and respiration rate, or take a patient’s blood pressure. Observing changes to these indicators can help improve a patient’s recovery time.

They also keep the patient’s environment safe and sanitary, reducing the risk of falls or infection during their stay.

Improve Patient Emotional Support and Satisfaction

A patient sitter allows the patient to talk and voice their concerns, and can often provide emotional support and reduce a patient’s fears and distress. Comforting patients by easing their distress and helping them remain positive can facilitate a person’s healing, as studies show that a positive attitude can improve a patient’s recovery process.

Reduce Healthcare Facilities’ Costs

Patient sitters can save money for healthcare facilities by making it possible for highly trained staff like nurses and doctors to perform their responsibilities without having to see to the basic daily needs of a patient. They also provide companionship and comfort, which can alleviate patient stress and anxiety and lead to a more positive hospital experience.

Patient sitters provide a valuable service within the healthcare industry. By helping with patients’ daily needs and providing caring companionship, patient sitters keep patients safe, improve the quality of patient care, reduce healthcare expenses, and help speed up the recovery process.

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