Writing this post about nursing homes has been on my mind for quite a while. Truthfully, I can only write about our experience with one nursing home, however some of the things my sisters and I learned are applicable to all nursing homes. The things I am going to say here apply to conditions and relationships with staff in reputable nursing homes of satisfactory and above quality.
Yes, there are bad nursing homes. Those I will not discuss except to say do not under any circumstances allow one of your loved ones to stay there. There are better choices. Make them.
When it was time to select a nursing home for Mother, we asked many friends and acquaintances for recommendations and then based on those recommendations we made personal visits to each one. The one we selected had an excellent rehab program. At the time we were certain Mother had the ability to get stronger and thus would benefit greatly from their program. When I visited this facility, I was impressed with the feeling I got when I first approached the nurses desk. There were smiles on the faces of the nurses and aides, and they seemed to have a good attitude. I didn’t see any scowls, or hear any grumbling of any sort. One would think that possibly they were just trying to impress me, because somehow they sensed that I might be bringing them a new resident. Yes, that could be true, but at the time I did not sense any fakeness at all. This staff seemed to be genuine in their positive attitudes. Generally, during the year and 10 months that Mother was a resident there, I saw lots of staff come and go, and, for the most part, most days and most staff members seemed to be positive and have good working relationships.
Oh, yes. We had problems and some of them I will share with you. However, it is the good things that I wish to focus my thoughts on first. The rehab program was indeed excellent. Mother began her rehab and did make progress. The ladies who ran that program were wonderful to Mother and to all the residents I saw under their care. Mother received speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. It was great to see her beginning to make progress.
After Daddy passed away, and as the months passed, her progression turned into regression. The therapists continued to work with her as long as they could justify keeping her in the program. Even when they had to dismiss her, they would look for opportunities to readmit her again. I don’t remember the circumstances that gave them the ability to starting giving her therapy again, but I know they did their best to keep her in their program.
The therapists loved Mother. They would weep as they talked to me about her. She was always cold so they would make sure she had blankets on as much as possible. They did everything in their power to make her comfortable. It broke their hearts and it did mine when we finally had to accept the fact that therapy was not appropriate for Mother any more.
In any nursing home you will find staff who loves their job and residents and you will find staff who doesn’t. That is just the way it is and always will be. In addition to that, you will find what you are looking for. If you choose to find good and positive people, you will find them. If you choose to focus on what if negative, then you will find negative people.
As I mentioned above, during the time Mother was a resident in this facility, there was a continual turnover in staff. In spite of the constant change, there was always someone who was responsible for caring for Mother, that loved her and did a good job of seeing to her needs. I think that was God’s provision for her. Those staff members we loved and appreciated, and we told them so.
There are many nursing homes who are run well and who have a genuine desire to care for and meet the needs of their residents. If a nursing home placement is now necessary for one of your family members, look and keep looking until you find one. Don’t settle for a poorly run facility for any reason. You will have fewer problems and more peace of mind if you keep your standards high. Most importantly, your loved one will have better care.
Tomorrow: Oh, the problems we found and challenges we faced.