Hospital, Rehab & Nursing Facility Sitter Care
Hospital, Rehab & Nursing Facility “sitters” are increasingly being utilized and recognized as an important and necessary element of a well-supported hospital or nursing home facility stay. Their role is to fill in the gaps for hospitalized, Alzheimer’s or dementia patients. As companion/caregiver sitters they become patient advocates, keeping a watchful eye on and alerting nursing/medical staff at the first sign of a problem. Many find the idea of a “sitter” excessive as they believe the nursing staff, doctors and aides in the hospital/nursing facility are able to provide the around-the-clock care that is needed. Unfortunately, many hospitals and nursing facilities are overworked and thinly staffed. It becomes very difficult for them to answer "call buttons" quickly. It is a well-documented fact that 10 percent of older adult falls occur in hospitals. Disorientation and medication often lead to these falls.
What does a “Sitter” do?
A “sitter” is a specialized caregiver. They are there to provide around-the-clock or hourly companionship and to observe and alert the hospital/rehab/nursing facility staff to problems or issues the patient may be experiencing. They keep the patient company by talking with and listening to them. They are not allowed to participate in aid or patient care, only to observe and to be an advocate. They are under the direction of the patients registered nurse and doctor. They are there to immediately summon the nurse assigned should any problems or issues arise. Many times a physician may prescribe a personal, one-to-one sitter for patients who have an impaired ability to understand or follow directions. Those patients who are unable to realize the potential that they could harm themselves as a consequence of their actions, such as those with Alzheimer's disease or dementia. In addition to assisting for safety reasons, sitters provide companionship which is also great medicine! Hospitals and nursing facilities are lonely places. The “sitter” can keep a journal, can record doctor visits and what was discussed if family members are not available. They can run errands for the patient, play games and just be a trusted friend. Most importantly they provide “respite care” for weary family members so that they may take a break, go home and rest knowing their loved one is not alone.