Personal medical care refers to the process of providing assistance to an individual who is either temporarily or permanently unable to care for him or herself. Many people will receive personal medical care throughout their lives, either at home, in a hospital, or in an interim rehabilitation facility. This type of care is frequently provided for individuals who are disabled, elderly, and no longer able to care for themselves, or are recovering from injury or surgery. It can involve everything from administering medications and caring for wounds, to attending to personal hygiene needs, such as bathing or using the restroom.
Individuals who provide personal medical care are typically registered nurses or other similar medical professionals. If the individual is receiving medical care at home, the nurse might live in the home permanently, or may simply visit for shifts throughout the day. Otherwise, nurses at medical facilities will typically work standard shifts, depending on the policies of the hospital, nursing home, or rehabilitation facility. Sometimes an individual or family will independently hire a nurse to live in the home and provide personal medical care, but typically the caregiver will come from a service with a pool of potential caregivers.
The type of personal medical care provided will depend on the needs of the patient. The nurse or caregiver might run basic tests, such as checking blood sugar or making sure medical devices are functioning properly. He or she might administer medications, provide physical therapy, or clean wounds and change bandages following injuries or surgical procedures. Personal medical care might also involve assisting the patient with daily hygiene practices, such as assisting with bathing or showering, cleaning the hair and teeth, and clipping the nails. Individuals who need assistance using the restroom may also receive this from a caregiver or nurse.
Typically, a person providing personal medical care will not also provide home services such as housekeeping or running errands. It will generally be necessary to hire someone else to perform these tasks. Personal medical care is directly related to the health and well being of the individual receiving care, and other home tasks are not usually within the job description. This can vary, however, if a family or individual privately hires a nurse and these additional tasks are specified in the contract; some personal caregivers will agree to these tasks because it might mean a little bit of additional income per day.