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Victorian Home Nursing, Invalid Care & Disabilities

While hospitals were available in Victorian times, a great deal of health care took place in the home. Illnesses were often prolonged, and if one could not hire a professional nurse, one had to be able to provide some basic medical services at home. "The care of invalids" was a common topic in Victorian magazines, as were suggestions for how to help people with disabilities.


For information on professional nursing as a career, please see Career Opportunities for the Victorian Woman.

An Amateur Nurse's Mistakes, or, Look Before You Leap, by S.F.A. Caulfield (GOP 1892)
An account of a nurse's misadventures in taking an invalid abroad.
A Few Hints on Health and Nursing (GOP 1886)
Among other tips, "If any of you are nursing a fever patient, recollect that you should never on any account 'take his breath,' as it is called; always stand between your patient and the window, so that the air... shall blow from you to him."
A Few Hints on Nursing for Our Girls, by a Hospital Nurse (GOP 1884)
Hints on Home Nursing (GOP 1897, 1898)
Home Hints in Illness (GOP 1890)
How to make poultices and mustard plasters; how to select and mix disinfectants (including "Condy's red fluid and Condy's green fluid").
How to Nurse and Tend the Aged, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1883)
A Little Advice to Amateur Nurses, by "The New Doctor" (GOP 1899)
"We call a suffer 'a patient,' but the term would be better applied to the nurse."
Mental Treatment of the Sick, and Higher Qualifications of Nurses, by S.F.A. Caulfield (GOP 1900)
Providing comfort and cheer to a patient's mind is vital to the healing of the body, says this author.
A Ministering Angel, by Josepha Crane (GOP 1898)
Tips on home nursing, disguised as a story.
Modern Methods of Treating The Sick, by "The New Doctor" (GOP 1897)
A look at some common-sense improvements in health care (such as why one should never use a metal hot-water bottle) -- but I'm not so sure about the use of a "brain stimulant" as a cure for headaches!
Nursing the Sick, by Albert Westland (GOP 1888)
Lengthy article on how to maintain a sick-room, including ventilation, disinfecting, cleanliness, temperature and more.
On Nursing the Sick, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1880)
Some Medical Appliances Made of Knitting, by Susan Shearman (GOP 1900)
How to knit a variety of bandages and braces.


Inklings to Invalids, by Nora Usher (GOP 1900)
"Learn to rely on yourself both mentally and physically, and never be dependent on others except when absolutely necessary."
An Invalid's Advice to Invalids, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1885)
The Invalid's Library (GOP 1900)
An intriguing venture developed by the editor of GOP: making texts available to invalids, printed on sateen rather than paper, so as to be easily used in a sick-bed. "Specially Suited for Wounded Soldiers in Hospitals," though one wonders how interested such soldiers would be in titles like "My Doves," or "Hetty's Pretty Face."
Literature for the Blind, by Alice King (GOP 1889)
On the establishment of a new circulating library of volumes in raised and Braille type.
Occupations for Invalids, by Dora de Blaquière (GOP 1881)
Poor Mother's Growing Old, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1893)
What Summer May Do for the Invalid, by Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. ("Medicus") (GOP 1889)


Bessie Gilbert, by Alice King (GOP 1892)
"This blind woman...determined that...blind men and women should be enabled to take a reasonable, active place in the community, and to live by the work of their own brains or hands."
Deaf Girls Among the Vines (GOP 1902)
A rare photo taken at the California Institution for the Blind and Deaf.
Deaf People, and How to Help Them, by Alfrey Porter (GOP 1898)
Tips on teaching the art of lip-reading.
Help for Deaf Girls (GOP 1897)
Information on some societies and programs for the deaf and dumb.
In Darkness and Silence (GOP 1890)
Laura Bridgman, an American woman who was deaf, dumb, and blind.
Papers for Our Girl Sufferers, by Mary Selwood (GOP 1884)
Tips for the blind, the deaf, "defective speakers and stammerers," and the lame.
A Tea-Party in the Height of the Season (GOP 1893)
A tea-party given for handicapped children.

Copyright © 2017 by
Moira Allen.
All rights reserved.

Magazine Abbreviations:
CFM = Cassell's Family Magazine GOP = Girl's Own Paper ILA = Illustrated London Almanack S = The Strand
AM = Atlantic Monthly C = Century Magazine D = Demorest's Monthly Magazine G = Godey's Lady's Book H = Harper's Monthly
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