Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > Medical Needs and First Aid

How to Isolate a Patient at Home from the 1942 Red Cross Home Nursing book

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Frugal Upstate:
Ok, so this is something that I've wanted to share for a while because I think it is really good, important information.  About a year ago I picked up two books at the library book sale--they were Red Cross Home Nursing books from 1942 and 1951.  They are EXCELLENT and I highly recommend that everyone go to Amazon or another used book source and pick them up.  Here are some links to look at them (they are my affiliate link, but buy them wherever you find them cheap) on Amazon--they run a couple of bucks, plus about $4 shipping.  Totally worth it:

The Red Cross Home Nursing -- 1942
The Red Cross Home Nursing -- 1951

The two books are different, not just regurgitation of the same exact info with some slight updates. 

Long story short--the Red Cross used to teach classes on how mother could take care of her sick family (under a doctors direction) at home.  The books contain basic info on health, children, community health & sanitation (think clean milk supply and water etc), and a lot of info on how to care for folks at home.  This was back when the doctors would recommend bed rest for folks and staying at the hospital just wasn't done much.

The 1951 book includes a lot of really neat ideas for how to improvise things at home (some of my favorites were using an umbrella and sheet to make a steam tent for a bedridden patient and putting a pitcher of hot water on a chair next to the bed, make "donuts" out of rolled socks to relieve pressure and prevent bed sores, and info on how to make bags and slippers etc out of old newspapers).    The 42 version seems heavier on the community health stuff, and includes a WONDERFUL chapter on isolating a person who is sick with a communicable disease told story style.

That's what I'm going to reproduce in sections here.  I really would like to type the whole thing out and offer it as a pdf, but quite frankly it's difficult to tell if the book is in the public domain (ie out of copyright) or not.  Maybe one of these days I'll visit my sister down by DC and go to the copyright office to check. . .but meantime I'm not paying for the info.  Instead you can all get it installment style as I have time. 

I hope you find it as informative as I do.  I'll start the first section as a new post.

Frugal Upstate:
How to Isolate a Patient at home.

You have learned how to keep a patient clean and comfortable in bed, how to recognize symptoms of illness, and how to carry out the doctors instructions for giving food, medicine and treatment.  You have also learned the importance of clean hands as a protection against the spread of disease germs from one person to another.  All these principles and procedures are used in the care of a patient who is will with a communicable disease. 

In Appendix 6 on page 403 you will find a chart listing the most common communicable diseases, their source of infection, early symptoms and other facts of interest, to which you may refer when you want this information.  But what would you do if you were actually faced with the necessity of taking care of a member of your family who had developed one of these diseases?

In order that you may learn just how to mother in a home might meet such a situation we shall bring into being an imaginary family which consists of Mr. and Mrs. Keen and their three children--Julie, aged 14, Jack aged 12, and Jimmie, aged 9.  Mr Keen is a good citizen who has a small business, by means of which he provides a modest by comfortable home.  Mrs Keen is an intelligent mother who is devoted to her family and her community.  She belongs to several civic organizations, and is always on alert for opportunities to broaden her knowledge and her usefulness.  One of her most recent interests has been the American Red Cross course on home nursing that was offered by the local chapter, and which she attended faithfully.

One day in the spring, Julie came home from school with heavy eyes and a flushed face.  She said she had a headache and a sore throat, and her stomach felt sick.  She went to her room to lie down.  Mrs. Keen had heard at a parent-teachers meeting that there were a few cases of scarlet fever in town, so she was immediately suspicious.  She put away her sewing, washed her hands, and brought out the fever thermometer.  She cleaned it carefully with soap and water, as she had been taught, and took Julies Temperature.  She was a little startled to find that the thermometer registered 102.4. She knew that Julie was really sick.

"of course," she said to herself, as she cleaned the thermometer and washed her hands, "It may be nothing more than a cold, but on the other hand, it may be scarlet fever, or something else as bad."

She decided to take no chances with the matter, and went at once to call Doctor Pierce, to whom she had always gone with her worries about the children.

When Mrs. Keen told Doctor Pierce about the elevated temperature, and how Julie looked and acted, he said "Put her to bed and keep her there.  Give her nothing but fruit juice and water.  I'll come out and see her a a little later in the day.  And by the way," he added "keep the other children away from her.  No use in having them all sick."

Doctor Pierce came over a few hours later, and after looking Julie over carefully, said, "There's not much doubt that she has scarlet fever.  Can't be too sure yet, but everything points that way.

Mr Keen looked a little worried.  "Does that mean we have to be quarantined?" he asked.

"I'm afraid it does," Doctor Pierce answered, "But we can make some arrangements so you can go on about your business I think.  The health department is usually reasonable when they know they can trust a family to protect the community."

Mrs Keen asked "What about the other children going to school?"

"No," said Doctor Pierce.  "They'll have to be quarantined.  They haven't had scarlet fever, and there's no telling but they'll come down with it too."

"Oh my goodness!" Mrs. Keen exclaimed.  "I don't know whether I can keep them from it, here at home, or not."

"Sure, you can," encouraged Doctor Pierce.  "it would be nice of course," he went on, "if we could just bundle Julie up and take her to the hospital.  But the hospital is running over now, so you'll just have to the the best you can here."  He thought for a moment and said, "You know, in some of the larger cities they have visiting nurses who can go into the home and show a family how to do things, in a case like this.  Maybe some day we'll have that kind of service too."

"Well, I hope so," Mrs. Keen sighed.  But if you'll tell me what to do, we'll just prepare ourselves for the siege."

Morning Sunshine:
I have the 1963 version.  I have not yet had a chance to read through it.

Frugal Upstate:
Doctor Pierce stayed for an hour or more and instructed Mr and Mrs Keen how to arrange and equip Julie's room so that she would be isolated from the rest of the family, and Mrs Keen could take care of her without spreading the disease.

The arrangement of the room was not difficult since the bathroom was at the end of the hall and the family could have the use of it without going near the patient.  The pictures were taken down to simply the problem of cleaning when the illness was over.  The window curtains were plain and washable, and so were allowed to remain.  Fortunately the rugs were small, so it was no trouble to remove them and leave the floor bare and easy to care for.  Everything was removed from the dresser, but the closet was left undisterubed, because the clothes julie had taken off hung there and Doctor Pierce said it was already contaminated.  An extra table, to be used for hand washing equiment, was brought in and placed just inside the bedroom door.  Oilcloth from the kitchen table was cut up and used to cover dresser and table tops to protect them from water.  A basket for waste was lined with newspapers.  A hook was put up beside the door for the gown Mrs Keen would wear to protect her clothes when caring for Julie.

Since the bedroom was on the second floor it required carefull planning to equip it so as to save Mrs Keen from making too many trips up and down the stairs.  Doctor Pierce said that having everything conveniently arranged lesseened the danger of spreading the infection, too.  By souting around among the neighbors Mr Keen succeeded in borrowing a bedpan and a large pitcher and basin.  One basin and pticher were placed on the hand washing table by the door, together with soap and towels.  Anbother pticher and basin, to be used for Julie's bath, were placed on the dresser.  The bedpan was placed between newspapers on the lower shelf of the bedside table.  Mrs Keen said "Tomorrow, when I have a little more time I'll make a newspaper envelope for it, like the picture in the home nursing book."

The floor outside the bedroom door was protected with newspapers on which could be placed a dishpan full of soapy water to receive soiled dishes, and a wash boiler to receive soiled linen.  There, too, was kept the waste pail to receive water from the hand basin, so Mrs Keen wouldn't have to go into the bathroom so often.  Doctor Pierce expained that the bedpan might be emptied into the toilet, if she were careful to use a piece of paper to lift the seat so it would not be contaminated.  Mr Keen was a little concerned about this, because he was afraid germs might be carried to someone else through the sewer.  "No," said Doctor Pierce, "scarlet fever germs are not carried in bowel and bladder discharges, but mainly in nose and throat discharges.  Those will be burned, you see.  The few germs that go into the toilet will be taken care of at the sewage disposal plant.  Of coure," he added, "if this were a case of typhoid fever or dysentery, it would be different.  Then the bowel and bladder discharges, bath water, and everything would have to be disinfected for an hour or more before they could be put in the toilet."

Doctor Pierce stood looking over the room with an air of satisfaction.  "Just keep in mind that you have two responsibilities.  First you want to give Julie the best of care so she will get well as fast as possible.  And second," --he emphasized each point by smacking the forefinger of one hand on the palm of the other-- "you must keep the germs from leaving this room on hands, linen, dishes, food, body discharges or flies."

"One, tow, three, four, five, six ways for them to travel," Mrs Keen counted, watching the pointing finger.

"Good thing I go the screens put up last week to keep out the flies," Mr Keen commented.

Just before the doctor left he said, "Now doin't let this worry you Mrs Keen.  It isn't as bad as it sounds.  Just remember that eerything that goes into this room, or that comes in contact with Julie and her surroundings in any way, is a possible germ carrier.  When it leaves the room it must be disinfected or boiled before it touches anything else.  If you do that you'll be fairly safe."

"That isn't hard to remember," Mrs Keen said, looking at the notebook in which she had written down all Doctor Pierce's instructions.

"A good idea," Doctor Pierce continued, "is to draw a chalk mark on the floor across the door, so you'll always be reminded that anything that crosses that line must be disinfected when it comes out."

"I'll do that right now," and Mr Keen went to get some chalk.

"Soap and water, soap and water--they are your best friends.  You may think you've always been clean," Doctor Pierce laughed, "but you have to be cleaner than you've ever been in your life when you are dealing with disease germs."

Frugal Upstate:

--- Quote from: Morning Sunshine on January 28, 2018, 10:57:33 AM ---I have the 1963 version.  I have not yet had a chance to read through it.

--- End quote ---

I'll have to look at that!  I like these older ones because of what they don't have.  They didn't have disposable gloves, q-tips, cotton balls. . . well all sorts of things that we see as necessary now, but that might not be available in either TEOTWAWKI or even just a bad epidemic where supplies are short on the shelves.


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