Regular Medical and Dental Care

Regular medical and dental care is crucial in helping people enjoy a healthy life. Typically, appointments are scheduled and residential staff or family members accompany the person. It is important to work closely with each person’s primary care physician and other medical and health professionals to make sure regular routine tests and screenings are completed. DSPs often play an important role in communicating to the health professional what someone might be experiencing.

All DSPs should be on the lookout for changes in appearance or behavior that may indicate some symptom of illness. Some people may not be able to fully communicate what they are feeling (physically and emotionally). It is important to be diligent in observing, monitoring, and reporting any of these changes. The following is a list of areas in which changes may indicate signs of illness or a change in health status.

Important Point

Dental care is equally important as medical care. Helping individuals maintain a healthy mouth by regular brushing, flossing and routine dental visits can dramatically decrease health related issues such as infections and discomfort.

Be on the LOOKOUT for these!

A. Changes in Daily Patterns

  1. Decrease in appetite or difficulty digesting food
  2. Increased sleeping or unable to sleep
  3. Pain associated with illness or injury
  4. Medication changes and reactions

C. Changes in Bodily Functions

  1. Breathing
  2. Balance/dizziness
  3. Pulse and blood pressure
  4. Bowel movements and bladder control
  5. Use of hands, arms, and legs
  6. Senses - seeing, hearing, touch, taste and smell

B. Changes in Appearances

  1. Weight gain or loss
  2. Condition of skin (pale, sweating) or hair (unusually dry/oily, falling out)
  3. Eyes appear watery or are itchy/red
  4. Skin swelling/redness
  5. Hygiene deterioration (such as body odor, untidy clothing, bad breath)

D. Changes in Behavior

  1. Obvious change in mood (depressed, agitated or crying)
  2. Combative/argumentative
  3. Withdrawn
  4. Anxious, restless
  5. Obvious change for someone (previously energetic person appears tired or a typically quiet person talks nonstop).