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Do you need a nurse, or an attendant

Porosh often receives queries on services for an attendant and at times, nurse as well. But what surprises us is the blurred understanding in the minds of the prospective members regarding the roles played by a nurse and an attendant.

Let us say a query starts on a note that a trained nurse is required to take care of one’s ailing, or terminally ill mother/ father, or in-laws. Usually we then ask what what is it that the nurse is expected to do. A typical response ranges from performing daily household chores like cooking, feeding, administering medicine on time, cleaning bed, assist in bathing and so on and so forth. A discerning reader will realize that the requirements are a mix of the roles of an attendant and that of a nurse. In this context a nurse who is skilled at feeding an ailing patient and administering medicine shall never agree to prepare food, clean bed and provide assistance towards bathing.

So, one may ask– Do we require both – a nurse and an attendant? In the light of the above example only the answer is ‘no’. If an attendant has the skill of feeding an ailing patient and can administer medicine on time only one person can do the needful but the services charges will obviously be on the higher side.

However, if the concerned member is terminally ill then two persons are required because during an emergency (like sudden fall of sugar level, fluctuation of BP, fit of unconsciousness, feeling of breathlessness etc.) a trained nurse can take appropriate initial steps till such time a doctor turns up. We have been a witness to such situations on a number of occasions where timely intervention by a nurse helped in saving lives. For certain, one cannot expect an attendant to do so.

Therefore, requirement for a nurse and/ or attendant depends on the complexity of the situation. We have realized over the years that if the health conditions of a senior citizen is fragile most bed-ridden and on medication with no one else to take care of then both are required. However, if the individual is of reasonably good health and take care of oneself and not suffering from dementia etc. then seeking services of an attendant should be good enough.


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