Independent living: how you can help a patient achieve daily tasks

As a disability support worker, you will know that some patients require little help while others require more assistance to achieve daily tasks. Daily tasks entail anything from getting dressed to seeing friends, joining classes and managing money, with some patients handling these tasks with more independence than others.

When it comes to patients who want to learn new skills for themselves, it’s important to be on board with them but also be on the same page.

So, as a disability Melbourne worker, here are a few tips for helping a patient who wants to learn or achieve a new daily task:

1. Ensure that everybody is on board with it

Regardless of the daily skill: getting ready, cooking a meal, catching public transport or doing some gardening, it’s important to ensure that everyone on the team is aware of the new endeavour.

This is because it’s always good to develop a plan to aim towards achieving the goal, and the patient may require the help of one or more carers as well as family members to achieve the daily skill.

By ensuring that you, the extended team and loved ones are on board with the task, the process of achieving it or learning the new skill will become much easier.

2. Allow the patient to take their time to learn

Many things that seem simply enough to able-bodied people often are not for people living with a disability. Therefore, as their carer, it is important to be as patient as possible when they are attempting to learn their new life skill.

Naturally, learning a new daily skill is stepping out of the ordinary from other life experiences, so it’s important to create an atmosphere where the patient feels relaxed, at ease, and happy to take their time to learn the new skill.

3. Keep practising the skill

To perfect anything you have to practise it, and therefore it is important to encourage your patient to continue practising this new skill so that they get it down pat.

Whether it’s helping them to prepare a specific meal they have always wanted to, showing them the ropes of catching public transport or helping them initially to do their own cleaning and laundry – practice is important and it’s good to help with their practice.

4. Help them celebrate their achievements

It can be difficult for a person living with a disability to achieve their goals, and so it’s important to remind them that by achieving a goal – whatever it is – they are doing an awesome job.

You want to help facilitate an atmosphere where your patient is confident and happy to continue trying new things. After all, the more independence your patient has, the more confident they are in life, so it’s always good to celebrate an awesome win like learning a new life skill!

5. Remember, you’re helping your patient achieve their goals

One of the reasons many people get into disability support work is to help people living with a disability achieve daily tasks and live a happy, healthy life.

So, as a disability support worker helping their patient achieve a new task – remember that you’re doing an awesome job! By encouraging and helping your patient achieve a new life skill, you are helping them to live more independently, and this is something that you should be proud to take with you!

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