Home Nursing

by Swami Sivananda

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Book Code: ES47
127 pages
ISBN: 8170522102
Book Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.25 inches
Shipping Weight: 180 grams

Table of Contents

About This Book (Back Cover)  
Dedication (5)
Sri Swami Sivananda (7)
Prolegomena (8)
I. Introduction 15
II. Duties of a Nurse 18
III. General Instructions 26
IV. The Sick Room 29
V. Practical Instructions 33
VI. Disinfection and Sterilization 38
VII. Enema 42
VIII. Injections 48
IX. Poisons and Antidotes 53
X. Home Hydrotheraphy 57
XI. Fomentation 66
XII. Medicated Hot Baths 70
XIII. Poultice 73
XIV. Lotions, Paints, Plaster 77
XV. Domestic Hygiene 79
XVI. Infant Feeding 82
XVII. Feeding of the Sick 85
XVIII. Diet for Invalids—I 87
XIX. Diet for Invalids—II 93
XX. Food for the Invalids 101
XXI. Simple Household Remedies 106
XXII. Hospital Formulae 110
XXIII. Modern Drugs 114
XXIV. Maternity and Child Welfare 120

A. Home Remedies Chest

B. Temperature 125

C. Weights and Measures


About This Book

The divine grandeur and majestic beauty of leading an ideal spiritual life lies in the active interest that a spiritual aspirant takes in serving all humanity with Atma Bhava or Narayana Bhav. This the Sage of Ananda Kutir preaches silently through his own practical exemplary living.

Of the various types and modes of service that can be rendered to the ailing humanity—morally, mentally and physically ailing humanity, medical service stands above all others, for, has it not been said Mens Sane Corpore Sane, has it not been asserted beyond doubt Sareeramadyam Khalu Dharma-sadhanam! As such, viewed from all quarters physical well-being is an essential and foremost pre-requisite for pursuing any walk of life. Bringing out this noble ideal and truth through his various activities, Sri Swami Sivanandaji has in addition to publishing the monthly journal “Health and Long Life” already given us a number of books on health and on medical subjects. As his boon to the suffering humanity, Sri Swami Sivanandaji’s work ‘Home Nursing’ is presently published.

Needless it is to point out that the books published in this series are written to educate the laymen.

May the ‘Home Nursing’ find its way into all household and be a sincere guide and divine healer!




LIFE is a mystery. It is the one precious possession of all living beings. Great is the joy that one derives from it. But greater is the care that one exercises consciously or unconsciously, to maintain, sustain and preserve it, for nothing on earth can give one greater joy than the mere thought or feeling that one exists;—if life were not full of bliss, by itself, would anyone cling to it? So it behoves everyone of us to strive after various means of sustaining and prolonging life. That, medical science is aiming at sincerely.

Medical Science has, with the progress of human civilisation, made considerable progress towards the alleviation of the bodily ailments of all beings. Of that, it has made no secret. Without confining its precious findings to a limited circle of specialists, who have dedicated themselves exclusively to the pursuit of that science, it encouragingly impels even the laymen to become medical-minded and learn first-aid and nursing. By doing so, it has helped everyone of the millions of human beings to be of help to himself and to others in times of emergency.

In emergency, one cannot depend entirely upon the medical practitioners, for they may not be available at a moment’s notice and that may endanger or snatch away life, the most precious thing. It may even so happen that no one is by one’s side when one is injured. So one ought to learn what one has to do under such conditions, such that one may save oneself from grave disasters. Again, even if a doctor is available in times of emergency, some of the important medicines may not be within easy reach at that moment. So one should acquire a knowledge of the most often used patent drugs and keep them in his house. While going out on picnics, pilgrimage, etc., one can carry with oneself some of the most commonly used medicines. A common cold or head-ache or constipation or indigestion attended to immediately will save one from serious complications that may result.

As one wishes to prolong and sustain one’s life and keep it free form ailments, etc., one should evince a great interest for safeguarding the life of others, for, verily, the world-play is maintained and social and universal progress and all-sided development achieved through mutual help, assistance and support. As one would wish one’s relations or neighbours to attend upon oneself during periods of illness, etc., one should serve and help others in times of emergency; otherwise how will the others be inspired to nurse wholeheartedly when one is in danger? So, one should serve and nurse willingly and lovingly anyone, whosoever he may be, whether known or unknown.

Especially, more so in the case of babes and pregnant women. Babes cannot take care of themselves. Others should take every care possible to nourish and sustain the young ones properly and see, thereby, that they do not lose their valuable possession, life, for no fault of theirs; and this involves prenatal and postnatal maternal care and welfare. The pregnant woman carries in her womb a living being that cannot be produced in any of our laboratories. Because of her good health and personal care, the world is full of living beings. She safeguards within her womb the supreme possession of ours for a period of nine months. Should we not take care of her, nay, are we not bound to exercise every precaution and care to see her in ideal circumstances?

Hence it is asserted that every individual should possess a fundamental knowledge of first-aid and home nursing and be acquainted with the administration and use of various important medicines. That will not merely pave the way for material progress and happiness but also bless the earnest man with purity of mind that would enable him to attain immortality and perennial bliss, the supreme Goal of life.

Reiterating and stating the same in other words, no progress, whatsoever, is possible in the absence of selfless service and universal love. It is the true spirit of selfless service that manifests as ideal universal love; the same statement holds good vice versa. And no form of selfless service is greater than the aid and nursing extended to the ailing ones. That is why I always insist on everyone including Sannyasins and hermits, becoming a qualified nurse.

I have already dealt with many aspects of the subject in all its details in my books ‘Health and Long Life’, ‘Practice of Nature cure’, ‘Bazaar Drugs’, etc. In this small book, entitled ‘Home Nursing’, I have given a few detailed instructions of basic importance.

In the opening chapter a brief introduction to the subject is given. The second chapter is of great importance. Doctors cannot remain always with the patients and a great majority of the public cannot afford to have paid nurses. In order to carry out the instructions of the doctor effectively, everyone in a family should be a nurse. And that means everyone should know how to carry out the instructions of the doctor and what he or she should do in the absence of the doctor. Hence the importance of the chapter. The succeeding six chapters also deal with more or less the same topic.

In chapter nine, poisons, along with their antidotes, are enumerated. Everyone should keep in his house the various antidotes mentioned in the chapter. A moment’s delay in treating poisoning cases may mean loss of life. One cannot wait for the doctor to come. So everyone should keep in mind the entire chapter.

Chapters 10 to 14 deal with Home Hydrotherapy, hot-baths, fomentation, etc. The benefits that accrue from the possessing of a knowledge of these things are very well-known to all.

The maintenance of the general health of the family depends to a vast extent upon the cleanliness and quality of the food taken. That means the exercising of great caution and care in respect of the kitchen, the method of cooking and the preservation of cooked-food. All these items find a place in the fifteenth chapter of the book.

Chapters 16 to 20 deal with the feeding of the infants and the sick. In this connection, suffice it to say that these chapters are of utmost importance. Mere administration of medicines and careful nursing would be of no avail if the diet of the child or the patient is not properly attended to.

The simple household remedies mentioned in the 21st chapter will be needed daily by one or the other of the family members. So it would do good to keep them in the house. So too are the few formulae given in the next chapter.

Modern Drugs are mentioned in chapter 23. However, these drugs should not be administered without the specific instructions of a qualified doctor who has examined the patient. The time and mode of administration are given in order to help the nursing individual, if he should forget the oral instructions of the attending doctor. A knowledge of these drugs and their use would enable one to keep ready beforehand what the doctor would require.

The concluding chapter deals with maternity and child welfare. Only a brief account is given therein, since a detailed one would be a book by itself. The need for these two has already been detailed in the earlier portion of the present prolegomena.

Valuable information has also been appended to the present book.

May everyone become an ideal selfless worker and embodiment of pure, divine Love! May everyone serve the Lord actively, in His manifest aspect as the weak, the sick or the child! May you all attain Him through the practice of Home Nursing and First-aid!

Peace be unto all!



A healthy man takes personal care of his body and of his bodily requirements. In disease he needs the service and assistance of others to take care of him. In other words he needs nursing.

Nursing of the patient is of the first and foremost importance in disease. When a disease manifests, the first thing to do is to take proper care of the diseased system. This is called nursing.

Nursing is more important than even the administration of medicine. By proper, careful and timely nursing that is efficiently done, much distress can be relieved and obstacles to rapid recovery removed. By careful, intelligent and judicious nursing, many lives can be saved. Many patients who suffer from serious diseases can be pulled round and made to convalesce quickly.

A nurse is one who has the care of an infant or of the sick. A nurse may be either a male or a female. Again, the father, the mother, the sister, the brother or the son can act as the nurse in tending the sick. The father or the mother or the son in the family will have to remain at the bedside of a sick person in the house and minister to his/her comfort. They should have a knowledge of home nursing.

Everyone of you should know the elementary rules of nursing. You must be prepared to help in the sickroom in emergency when trained nurses are not available. Home nursing is a part of Nishkama Karma Yoga, selfless service. It is a great purifier, joy giver, soul elevator and Moksha bestower. Attend any short course in ‘Home Nursing and First Aid’ and get a certificate.

Everyone of you should know how to take temperature and record it in the chart, to give enema, sponge bath, sitz-bath, etc., to prepare easy mixtures, powders, ointments and lotions, to disinfect a room, to examine urine for sugar, albumen, etc., and put on bandages, slings, etc. You must be able to report all symptoms to the doctor and leave him free to draw his own conclusions. You should use your five senses to detect anything that can add to your knowledge of the case. The more minute the observations, the better the help you can give.

You must note down in writing the quality, quantity and type of the food taken by the patient and the time at which it is taken. You must see that the excretions are preserved or measured, as directed. You must note the periods of sleep, the expressions of the patient, any change in his appearance or demeanour. You must keep a temperature chart.

Nursing needs an elaborate training. A nurse should possess an elementary knowledge of anatomy, physiology, hygiene, medicine, drugs, etc. She should know how to take the temperature, give enema, fomentation, cold compress, cold pack, sponging, etc., how to pass a catheter, cup the loins, disinfect the clothings, etc. She should know how to feed a patient, how to give rectal feeding, how to wash the stomach, etc. She should have a full knowledge of massage and first aid and of weights and measures. She should have a knowledge of antinatal, and postnatal treatment; she should be able to take care of pregnant women, women in confinement, nursing mothers and newborn babies.

A nurse should have some knowledge of home remedies. She is a doctor also. During the absence of the doctor, she can intelligently carry out the directions of the doctor and take care of the patient. The success of a surgeon in the operation theatre mainly depends upon the skill and dexterity of the sister-nurse who selects instruments for the surgeon.

Every member of a family should have a practical knowledge of home nursing and first aid. You can save the doctor’s bills, thereby. You can give comfort to any member of your family when he or she is in distress. When his life is in jeopardy, you can save him. You can serve your neighbour, your friend, your relative, the poor and the sick and thus purify your heart for the reception of divine light and divine grace.

The greatest Nurse, the supreme Nurse of nurses, is Mother Para Sakti. She nourishes and takes care of all creatures in the universe. All glory to this Divine Nurse! May Her blessings be upon you all!

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