Pegasus home health care nurses in Calabasas and elsewhere served throughout the pandemic. They and their patients are now ready to face the “new normal.” Your career as a home health nurse includes making social wellness a priority for your clients as well as yourself.
The Benefit Of Social Distancing Came At A Cost
Social distancing and stay-home guidelines during the pandemic helped protect individuals from COVID-19. But it also left many seniors isolated. The loss of personal contact led to a decrease in their quality of life.
Deprivation of social interactions resulted in loneliness for many. Some experienced depression. Physical, mental, and cognitive abilities were impaired for others.
All ages, not just the elderly, were affected by the lack of face-to-face contact. Research shows that one-third of Americans experienced psychological issues during the pandemic restrictions.
Lack of social outlets has the same deleterious effects on health as hypertension, obesity, and smoking. Individuals are less able to manage stress. Their immune systems are compromised.
Positive Relationships Are Part Of Social Wellness
Good overall health includes social wellness. Social wellness is having positive relationships with others. It’s mutually supportive.
The ways in which you give or receive support include:
- Emotional – all the nurturing and caring things that people do for one another
- Instrumental – physical actions that individuals do that help others with tasks or activities of daily living
- Informational – offering the information that others need
All these are part of what you do as a home healthcare nurse. But they are also an essential part of your relationships with family and friends.
Achieving social wellness means knowing yourself. Know your values and your boundaries. Know what supports your growth.
Learn how to balance the parts of your life while connecting with others. Communicate honestly and openly with others that you trust. Let others know that you are trustworthy and willing to listen to them.
Social Isolation Often Results In Loneliness
Nearly everyone needs social contact to remain healthy. But there is a difference between being alone and loneliness. Social wellness encompasses both.
Being alone is physical. It just means that you aren’t with someone else at a particular time. It’s often your choice.
Loneliness is feeling sad, empty, or unwanted. It’s usually due to circumstances beyond your control. It may or may not be short-lived.
It’s all a matter of having the amount and quality of social connection that’s wanted at specific times. Some individuals are not lonely when alone. Others feel lonely even when surrounded by people.
Part of your home health nursing includes understanding that some seniors deny their loneliness. They may have been called anti-social or otherwise ridiculed. Use your interview skills to determine if they genuinely like being alone or if they’re afraid to admit to loneliness.
You provide support to your patients to the best of your ability. But the hours you spend helping others may infringe on nurturing your own relationships. It’s essential that you make social wellness a priority for yourself as well as your clients.
Tips For Improving Social Wellness
Your Pegasus team includes caregivers that provide companionship. You also have access to caregivers that assist with transportation to social gatherings. Others can help arrange for friends to visit your homebound patients.
Other ways to increase social wellness include:
- Connecting more often with people than with your devices.
- Making it a point to communicate in person as often as you can. As in-home visits replace telehealth, you’ll see improvement in your patients and yourself.
- Volunteering and encouraging your patients to do so. For example, churches and community groups can supply names of homebound individuals. Your patients can call or text those individuals to help ward off loneliness. It’s a win/win situation for everyone.
- Remembering that “this too shall pass.” Be empathic and supportive when patients are distressed. But also be encouraging about how things can change.
- Practicing sensitivity. Individuals feel supported when you listen carefully to what they’re telling you. Smile if appropriate and use their names in conversation.
- Complimenting others. People thrive when their efforts are recognized. Avoid false or effusive praise. Look for the small things individuals do or say. For example, one of your patients might have a new hairstyle. Notice it. Recognize the efforts your family and friends make to support you.
- Respecting others. Be on time. Disagree in constructive ways. Honor your patient’s need for privacy during exams. Don’t fight dirty in conflicts. If you commit to doing something for someone, follow through.
You can find more suggestions and specific tips with this social wellness toolkit.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Our home health care nurses in Calabasas and our other locations provide all levels of quality care. That includes making social wellness a priority for themselves and our clients.
Professionals who join us receive the training and support they need to advance their careers. Your skills and abilities will be validated with trust, appreciation, and respect from your colleagues. Improving the health and quality of life for others keeps your career as a home healthcare nurse satisfying and stimulating.