Common conditions

“As a health care professional you will be working with individuals with a range of conditions, you will be required to have a knowledge of how these conditions effect the individuals daily life and where you can support them to live an active and fulfilled lifestyle.”

Working with many different individuals in one day requires a high knowledge of the human body, common conditions and how these can effect an individual. Often moving from one service user to the next in quick succession to provide daily care or answer call bells, means you have to change your approach, style of care, equipment and knowledge in just a few minuets. Having to know all of this information can seem daunting but it’s not impossible and there is always room to learn, be educated and have group supervisions to discuss ideas and gain new knowledge. 

Some conditions may present themselves differently to others at first. Some individuals may respond to their condition diagnosis in a different way. They may grieve or they may accept it. None of these variations we can predict as each person is unique so will their condition be. And how they manage it. Your duty is to support them in their decision regardless of your personal view.  Ensure they live a fulfilled life void of any discrimination. Know of their condition, be aware of how to help them with their daily life working along side them and their needs and provide tools and support for them to be as independent as possible for as long as possible.

Common conditions.

We advise you to research these common conditions, diseases and symptoms as you will be caring for individuals living with these conditions on a daily basis, you will need to have a broad understanding of all of these conditions as the care required for each individual will vary significantly. We have stated some key points for you to research and links to the websites relevant to these points. We recommend you take time to fully understand a condition and how the individual has to adapt to live a fulfilled well-led life whilst living with the following: 

 

 

 

 

Key points to research:

  • Types and symptoms
  • Changes in behavioral patterns 
  • Risk assessments 
  • Professional research and publications 
  • Admiral nurses

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Key points to research:

  • Signs and symptoms 
  • Types of stroke 
  • What is FAST?
  •  What is a TIA?
  • What is aphasia?  

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Key points to research:

  • Signs and symptoms 
  • Types of Parkinson's
  • Motor Symptoms
  • Non-motor symptoms 
  • Exercise tool kit

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Key points to research:

  • 33 Types of mental health conditions
  • Equality and human rights
  • Guide to support and services 
  • Your stories 

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Key points to research:

  • Everyday living 
  • Support for carers

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Key points to research:

  • What is type 1?
  • What is type 2?
  • Signs and symptoms 
  • Diabetes myths and frequently asked questions 
  • Learning zone

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Key points to research:

  • What is MND?
  • What is Kennedy's disease?
  • Are there different types of MND?
  • What are the symptoms?

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Key points to research:

  • What is COPD?
  • What is asthma?
  • What is pneumonia? 
  • How your lungs work
  • Acute lower respiratory tract infections

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Key points to research:

  • Different types of cancer
  • Causes of cancer
  • Managing symptoms and side effects
  • Symptoms
  • Death and dying 

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The information will always be available to revisit if you find you are caring for an individual who is living with one or more of these conditions as reading all the information at once can be overwhelming and you may not retain all the relevant information, take time to reflect on this as part of you duty of care. This can go towards your learning in your professional development plan and NVQ diplomas. 

Watch out:

Be aware an individuals condition can change depending on their medication. Medications can have side effects. Taking one medication generally leads to taking more to counteract the side effects experienced. 

-Medication may cause an individual to bruise more easily

-Medication can cause an individual to urinate more frequently

-Medication can dictate what an individual can eat or drink

Be sure to always read the individuals care plan to see what their medical needs and requirements are. If you are unsure speak to your team leader or senior for further advice on where to gain this information.

Care Elderly Woman
Et call home. Tony Luciani Photograph. Subject to copyright

Have an unanswered question? Contact us today and we will help you to find an answer.

Never assume..

Within health and social care it is good practice to never assume an individual has a condition such as the ones mentioned above. A persons capability can fluctuate daily or hourly. This does not mean they are losing capacity or ability, it is very natural to get tired, stressed, emotional and confused within a care setting. It is a busy and lonely environment.

If for example: an individual does not wish to follow their usual routine because they do not feel energetic enough to take part that day, if the individual had no obvious concerns, high temp, loose bowels etc or has not reported any concerns other than feeling low in energy. The best practice would be to allow the individual to rest, provide plenty of fluids and food throughout the day and re-asses tomorrow. In the morning ask the individual how they are feeling today, if they would like to get up? If by the second day they had continued to not actively take part in their care, best practice would be to gain a urine sample and test for UTI and continue to monitor based on the sample outcome you may need to book a GP visit to discuss the results and request antibiotics. 

It is natural to not want to take part in the same routine daily. Some days we all need a break. If your 35 or 95 we all need time to rest.

If the individual you are caring for is unable to take part in their care they are nursed in bed and cannot communicate to you how they are feeling there are other ways to conclude their concerns and condition’s. Assessing an individuals facial expressions during personal care can be a good indicator if the individual is in any pain. Rolling in bed or moving to wash can cause pain being vigilant or the individuals unspoken response as this can help them get the assessment they need to act on their concern. Urine colour is a great indicator or how hydrated someone is. An individual needs to be hydrated to stay awake, alert and digest food. Visual tools and pictures can support someone who is unable to vocalize to show their feelings.

Acting in the best interest of the individual at all times, it is important as a health care assistant we find the cause of the concern in the least invasive way possible, provide them care and support in the least restrictive way possible, and try to keep the individual out of hospital to remain at home and receive care, where possible. 

Pain assessment tools

There are some pain assessment tools available to those with varying needs and conditions. These can be used to communicate someones pain, the intensity of the pain and the location. These tools are used in many medical settings and have proven to be very useful in assisting an individual with their pain assessment and outcome. 

Numerical rating scales (NRS)

Uses number to rate pain on a scale can be useful to determine if pain has increased or decreased. Before during and after treatment. The scale can be used by those who can verbally confirm their answer or by those who can point or draw a line.

Visual analog scales (VAS)

Combines pictures and numbers for pain rating. Six faces depict different expressions, ranging from happy to extremely upset. This scale can be used by those who can verbalize their answer. Those who can point. And the health care assistants providing care can use the individuals facial expression to correlate to the scale. 

Categorical scales

Using words, a variety of scales and body maps to locate and determine the severity of the pain. This can

It can also be used in adults who are unable to communicate.Healthcare providers can gain some sense of whether someone's pain is increasing, decreasing, or stable.