Nightingales Home Based Caring Services

Personalised one on one care in the comfort of your own home Howick Branch
17 Buchanan Street, Between St.Josephs chruch and 'Dog World'
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Keeping the home safe

Keeping the home safe

10 October 2018 by

When you are caring for people with dementia, you need to encourage them to be independent (do things for themselves) but at the same time you need to make sure that they cannot get hurt or put themselves in danger. A simple fall can result in that person no longer being able to lead an active and independent life. Small accidents can and will happen in the home but there are ways in which we can try to prevent these accidents from happening.


  • Dementia does affect the person’s memory.
  • The person with dementia does not always know what is right and wrong.
  • As people get older they fall more easily because with age come changes in vision, hearing, muscle strength, co-ordination and reflexes.
  • They also move slower than other people. This can be dangerous for them. An example is if they touch a hot plate or pot on the stove, they are slower in taking their hand away and so will get very badly burnt.
  • Some people may also have other diseases or disabilities that make it harder for them to do things.
  • Also, they may be taking medication that can cause them to feel dizzy.
  • If the person with dementia is very nervous or anxious, accidents will also happen more easily.



  • Ensure that the person has her/his eyes tested. If s/he wears glasses, the eyes need to be tested every two years.
  • If the person loses her/his balance easily, ask the doctor if the medication is affecting her/him.
  • If the person gets up at night, leave a small light on to show theway, or give the person a torch, if s/he remembers how to use it.
  • Also, during the day, make sure that there is enough light so that the person can see where s/he is going.
  • Make sure that there are no loose mats or tiles, toys or mess on the floor that someone might fall over.
  • Remove all pieces of furniture that someone might fall over when moving about the house.
  • Do not move furniture around because the person may become confused.
  • Be careful that the people will not slip on the floor and get hurt. Also make sure that, if anything is spilt on the floor, it is wiped up straight away.
  • Another problem can be electric cords or wires lying on the floor. The person can very easily fall over them.
  • Furniture that is broken or wobbles can cause falls and injuries.
  • Older people usually like to wear their slippers in the house. Just make sure that the slippers fit properly and they are not slopping around in them.
  • If the person can fall easily, handrails can be put on the walls, to hold onto. It is useful to put one on the wall in the toilet and shower or next to the bath, so that the person can hold onto it to sit down or stand up. Handrails are also useful next to any steps inside or outside the house.
  • Encourage the person to use a walking stick or a walker if her/his walking is unsteady
  • If the person drinks alcohol, too much of it can also cause a fall.
  • Encourage the person to stand up slowly. Getting up too quickly often makes people feel dizzy.
  • Being too hot may also make someone feel dizzy.

If someone does fall and looks bad or is in pain, do not move the person and do not give anything to drink in case s/he needs to have an operation. Cover the person with a blanket and put a small pillow under the head, then send for an ambulance or, if there are no ambulances, ask for help from the neighbours to get the person to hospital.


  • Lock all medicines and tablets away in case the person swallows them.
  • It is very important to lock away everything used for cleaning, as well as paraffin, methylated spirits and drain cleaner, in case the person with dementia drinks one of them, believing it to be cooldrink or medicine.
  • If you do think that something poisonous has been swallowed, the person must be taken immediately to the nearest hospital or clinic. Take with you the poison that you think was swallowed, to show the doctor. If you have a phone, you can phone the ‘Poison Control Centre’ on 0800 333 444 and tell them what the person has swallowed. They will tell you what to do.


  • The danger of the person getting burnt can be a big problem. Ensure that all matches, candles, lighters, gas heaters and small gas stoves are locked away.
  • Candles are a big problem in causing fires as they are easily knocked over, or clothes and blankets touch the flame and start a fire.
  • Never dry clothes over a fire or heater as this can cause a fire.
  • If using coal for heating, make sure that there are no holes in the stove or chimney that will let the smoke into the room. This smoke is poisonous and the people in the room can die from it.
  • If there is an open fire in the room, it should always be covered with a fire screen that cannot fall over.

If the person does get burnt, put the part that is burnt into cold water for at least 10 minutes to stop the burning and help stop the pain. If the person takes the part that is burnt out of the water and if the pain starts again, put it back in the water. The burn will warm the water, so change the water or add cold water. Do not take off any clothes or the skin might come off with them. If the hands have been burnt, take off any rings, watches or bracelets because burnt skin can swell up. Do not put anything on the burn, just cover it with a clean wet cloth and take the person to the nearest clinic or hospital.


  • If there is electricity, have an electric kettle that switches itself off when the water has boiled. If there is no electricity and gas is used to boil the water and the person is at home alone, make a drink that is not too hot and leave it in a vacuum flask or covered jug.
  • Keep the very sharp knives in a safe place, but make sure that anything that the person can safely use is within reach, so that s/he does not have to climb on a chair and perhaps fall.


  • People with dementia seem to like turning on taps and unfortunately it might be the hot water tap and so they burn themselves. If possible, remove the handles of the hot water taps and keep a “tap turner” in your pocket. You just put the “tap turner” over the top of the tap where the handle would go and open the tap with it. The “tap turner” is like a small plastic spanner. If you cannot get a “tap turner”, a small spanner that can be bought from a hardware store will also work.
  • People with dementia should not use an electric blanket in bed in case they wet themselves. If a hot water bottle is used, it must have its own cover or be wrapped in a towel.
  • If people with dementia smoke, make sure that they do not smoke on their own. You will need to keep the cigarettes and lighter or matches for them. It is important that they do not smoke in bed.
  • Never take an electric heater into the bathroom as anyone in the bathroom can be electrocuted if it gets wet.
  • Always make sure that a window is left open, even just a little bit, if you are using gas, paraffin or coal to cook or to heat the room.
  • Keep a torch with spare batteries in the house in case the lights go out.
  • Use rubber mats in the bathroom. A coloured rubber mat or wet towel in the shower or placed on the bottom of the bath will stop the person from slipping.
  • If there is an electric geyser in the house, set the water temperature to 48.8◦C or lower so that the person does not get burnt.


  • Keep a list of telephone numbers that you can phone for help. Keep this list next to the phone if there is one in the house. If not, keep the
  • list with the telephone card so you can use it when you phone from a call box or ask someone to phone for you.
  • If the person lives alone or is left alone for a while, ask a friend or good neighbour to check on the person and watch out in case something goes wrong.
  • If you feel you can trust them, leave a spare set of keys with friends or neighbours and leave a telephone number with them or tell them where you are going.
  • Put locks on doors and cupboards so that you can lock away anything that might hurt the person. People with dementia do like to open drawers and cupboards, unpack them or just go through them, so try to leave one cupboard open for them or they might get very anxious if they can’t open anything.


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Selecting a care provider for a loved one can be a complicated and daunting task. We undertake to make this process simple, by helping you make an informed decision around the type of care that is required and identifying the particular needs of the client. This will enable us to select the correct carer whose qualifications, personality and experience best fits in with your lifestyle.

We work closely with the patient's family, doctors and other caregivers, and encourage good communication and co-operation between all parties to ensure the client receives the best possible care at all times. All staff are supervised on a daily basis, and their performance is assessed monthly by their current client.

Nightingales has professional, friendly and approachable management staff, and all enquiries and consultations are strictly confidential. Should you require any further information regarding our service, please contact us.

Nightingales Home Based Caring Service is based in Howick in the Natal Midlands. We specialise in placing qualified home carers in the private homes of individuals who require either long or short term care, but wish to remain at home. We provide a personalised service that can be customised to meet the unique health requirement of our patients, while taking into consideration their lifestyle, cultural, spiritual and personal needs.

Nightingales provides experienced care and support to patients, enabling them to reside independently in their own homes, improving their quality of life for themselves and their family.

Nightingales will offer you peace of mind that your loved ones are cared for by qualified caregivers and supported and supervised by caring and experienced management staff.


Nightingales offer a variety of services, depending on the requirements of our patients. Care levels and routines can be quickly adjusted to suit the changing needs of our patients.

Basic Home Care

Carers will work to your home schedule, performing basic household duties such as bed-making, bathroom and kitchen cleaning, vacuuming, washing and ironing, as well as assisting patients with their personal needs such as bathing and grooming assistance, meal preparation, and exercises programs etc.

Night Care

Carers ensure that patients are tended to during the night hours when accidents are most likely to happen. They assist in the preparation of the evening meal, bathing and bedtime routines and are on immediate call when their patient requires assistance.

Live-In Care

Carers live with their patient for a week at a time, on call 24hours a day. They assist in basic housekeeping, meal preparation, exercises programs, bathing and grooming, medication reminders. Routines are set by the patients' requirements.

Palliative Care

This is an emotionally distressing time for family and friends. Carers assist by relieving from the family the day to day care of the patient, and to reassure the family of the patients' condition. The carer will assist in bathing, dressing and feeding when required.

Alzheimers and Dimentia

This is perhaps one of the more difficult things for the family to deal with. Memory loss causes confusion and anxiety in patients and sadness, helplessness and frustration and in family members. Carers help in maintaining a daily routine, ensuring that patients are clean, well groomed, eat regular meals and have the correct medication on time.

This is of enormous benefit to the patient who wishes to remain at home and a relief for family members who are not always able to do this themselves.

Transport / Mobility

Ensuring patients are taken to their medical appointments accompanied by their carer for support and assistance. Carers also assist in mobility in and around the home.

Bathroom and Grooming Assitance

Carers are trained and experienced in assisting patients to bathe and to assist them to dress where required.

Medication Reminders

Carers ensure that patients have the correct medication at the correct time.

Exercise Assitance

Exercise is vital for physical and mental fitness, and carers will assist in these routines designed to help improve the patients' strength and mobility, working together with the patients' instructor to ensure they are carried out correctly.

Meal Preparation

Carers are trained to follow a dietary program and will ensure that their patients are given healthy nutritional meals, and ensure that their patient is eating properly throughout the day.

Incontinence Care

Incontinence is a common and distressing problem, and carers are trained to deal with this in a caring and sensitive manner.


Social interaction with a carer helps to alleviate loneliness. They can read to their patient, play games, chat or just watch TV together. The patient is able to do this as and when it pleases them. Carers can also assist in accompanying their patient to visit other friends or on walks.

Communication / Emergency Procedures

Carers are trained to recognise signs of change and or distress in their patients and will immediately inform their supervisor of a change and ask how to proceed. They communicate with their patients' family, GP and other people involved in the day to day care of their patient to ensure that changes are made when needed. Carers are also trained in how to deal with an emergency, and management staff are on call 24 hours a day to deal with this.


Lorraine Meadows
072 602 7505