If nursing home placement has been or is about to be necessary for one of your loved ones, there several things to consider. Once again please remember that I am making these statements and expressing my opinion based on our experiences with one nursing home. I am not a health care expert, nor have I had professional training in the area of nursing homes. I am just a family member who has walked down the nursing home path with my mother.
1. Search, check, get recommendations, make visits, and keep looking until you find a nursing home that you are comfortable with. Look for cleanliness, comfortable furniture, staff going up and down halls interacting with residents, and food that is reasonably good. Personal note: I have seen food in three different nursing homes and an assisted living home. I hated it in all four places. ugh. I know there are probably facilities where the food is excellent. I just haven’t found it yet. Look for smiles. Smiles not just for you. Those don’t count because they are wanting your business. Look for smiles on the faces of the staff and residents as they interact with together. Look for smiles as the staff interacts with each other. Look for smiles on the faces of the residents as they interact with you.
Some of you may have other things that should be added to this point. Please feel free to add comments about things that need to be found in a facility before placing a family member there.
2. Once you decide on a nursing home and begin making preparations for the transfer, start building relationships with staff members and the administration. Get to know them personally. It is essential that you build a friendly working relationship—-emphasis on friendly. These people do not need to see you a a threat, at least from the outset, and hopefully, if this is an above average facility, you may never be a threat. They must see you as someone who is not looking for things that are wrong, but instead they must see you as someone who will find things that are right. The staff and administration must see that you join them as part of the team caring for your loved family member and their new resident.
3. That said, the staff must understand that you will be consistently vigilant in your oversight of the care your family member receives. Yes, I said, oversight. Readers please understand that nursing home placement does not relieve you from the responsibility of caring for your loved one. In some ways your responsibility increases. You may not be doing the dressing, bathing, and feeding, but you are watching the actions of many people who do. Please do not leave your family member in a nursing home without someone to check on them daily or almost daily.
We were always so sad to see precious little old people in our nursing home who had not seen a family member in weeks or months We knew this to be true because the staff would tell us. So sad. More about this later.
I have much more to write on this subject so I will sign off and tomorrow will be Part 3