How to Take Care of a Sick Person in Your Home


Whether the person is a patient, friend or loved one, caring for an ill person requires patience and a basic knowledge of the illness. If the illness is contagious, you need prevent its spread to yourself and others that reside in the house. Depending on the type of illness, you may need to take care of a sick person for a few days or much longer. As well as managing their medical condition and following the medication schedule, it is important to make sure the sick person’s basic needs are met.

Things You'll Need

  • Alcohol-based hand rub
  • Fan
  • Medications
  • Magazines
  • Books
  • Puzzles
  • Television
  • Radio
  • Handheld game.
  • Bedside commode

Wash hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub before and after touching the person whether or not they have a communicable illness. Washing your hands can protect both yourself and the person from germs and viruses.

Provide ample fluids to keep the sick person hydrated. The National Institutes of Health recommends a daily intake of six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Other sources of fluids include broths and electrolyte drinks.

Make nutritious meals that appeal to the sick person. Depending on his illness, a sick person may prefer bland foods and may want to avoid spicy or rich foods that could make him nauseous. Someone that is sick can have a poor appetite and may eat more food if it is offered in small portions several times a day.

Provide a quiet, dark environment for the sick person to sleep and rest. Some people need a soft background noise, such as a fan or music, as they sleep.

Help the sick person find a comfortable position in his bed or chair. If the ill person cannot reposition themselves independently, help him to change position every two hours prevent constant pressure on one part of his body which can lead to skin breakdown.

Give the sick person his medications on time and as directed. If the sick person’s illness doesn’t get better, contact his physician rather than giving him a larger-than-ordered dose of medicine. Monitor the person for adverse side effects related to his medications.

Prevent boredom by providing magazines, books, puzzles, a television, a radio or a hand-held game.

Assist the person to use the restroom as needed by helping him to the toilet and providing the necessary supplies for cleanup. If the person is unable to walk to the bathroom to use the toilet, consider purchasing a bedside commode as a temporary alternative.

Assist the sick person with daily hygiene needs as tolerated like bathing, shaving, brushing teeth and make-up application.

Tips & Warnings

  • Watch for signs of dehydration which include a dry mouth, amber-colored urine, thirst, dry skin, headache, fast heartbeat and low blood pressure.

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