Are Nursing Homes bad? Be an investigator and an advocate!
Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Homes can be really bad places for your loved ones or really good! What can you do when a nursing home becomes your only choice?
First of all, do a lot of research of any facility you are considering. Visit the facility and meet with the manager, the intake person and anyone else you can talk to. If you know any of the residents or their families, talk to them and see what they think. Be friendly and smile a lot, they are judging you too.
When you decide that a facility is appropriate get your loved one’s name on their waiting list immediately. Don’t be overly concerned if the waiting list is long, waiting list are very volatile and can change daily. Get on as many waiting list as possible.
BE AN ADVOCATE – Once your loved one is in an assisted living or Nursing Home facility; become the best advocate you and your family can be. Below are what we came to believe are best practices;
- Someone from the family needs to visit every day if possible. If other family members live close then try to share those visits with them.
- Visit at different times of the day and get to know the workers on each shift.
- Be friendly to all workers (they have a hard job) and to all residents. Get to know their names.
- Get to know other family members of residents, especially if there is a roommate.
- Listen to your loved one’s opinion about his or her treatment. If there is a problem then bring it to the attention of the head nurse right away in a friendly manner.
- If a problem continues, don’t be afraid to bring it to the attention of the facility manager. They are very concerned about any reports of abuse. Most problems in our experience are system or communication problems which can be solved with proper training.
- If you or a family member cannot be there every day, there are “sitters” you can hire to go and just be company to them. Those sitters can become advocates too.
Our family has experienced three parents in home care, assisted living and nursing homes. We’ve had good experiences the majority of the time by doing those practices listed above. We view most of the workers at these facilities as “saints” and try to treat them that way. Most are underpaid and over worked. Being nice to them pays dividends to your loved ones.
What has been your experiences? Please leave your comments, good or bad!