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Healthcare Fields: Direct and Indirect Patient Care

December 13, 2013 General 0 Comments

Interested in pursuing a degree in healthcare? You need to be familiar with important vocabulary, including direct & indirect care.Are you up to date on your healthcare vocabulary?

If you are interested in working in the healthcare business, you’ll need to know a variety of important terms. This includes direct and indirect patient care.

According to the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Delegation Handbook, direct patient care refers to activities that “assist the patient in meeting their basic needs.” Indirect patient care refers to activities that “focus on maintaining the environment in which nursing care is delivered and only incidentally involves direct patient care.”

There is a fine line between these two care providers and it is important to note that each situation is different. To help you distinguish between these two types of patient care, review this list of care provider responsibilities. Activities can include:

Direct Patient Care

  • Take patient vital signs, including blood pressure, respiration, temperature and pulse rate
  • Take patients’ daily weight
  • Measure and record patients’ intake and output
  • Help patients through daily living activities, such as bathing, shaving, and brushing teeth
  • Change patient bedding and clothing
  • Feed patients and calculate daily calorie intake
  • Assess and assist patients with mobility

Providers of direct patient care must also be able to provide emergency aid in life support situations.

Indirect Patient Care

  • Clean any medical equipment used by the patient
  • Clean the patient’s home environment
  • Prepare frozen food or deliver meal trays
  • Take any patient specimens to clinical laboratories
  • Perform clerical tasks, such as making phone calls, assembling patient care orders and scheduling appointments
  • Stock patient supplies

Stocking patient supplies can apply to room, utility, and other supplies since indirect care providers often work at assisted living homes.

Interested in learning more information and vocabulary to improve your knowledge of the healthcare industry? Talk to your instructors or advisor.  


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