Moving yourself or a family member to a nursing home is one of the hardest decisions you have to make as you age. The decision to move may arrive suddenly or gradually after hospitalization or as needs become more difficult to meet in other types of housing, it is still not easy choice.
To lessen the stress about making a decision, it is important to learn all you can about nursing homes so you can choose one that is right for you or your family member. Knowing the facts from the myths will help. With so many negative connotations attached to the “nursing homes” label, separating the myths from the truths can help ease some of your worries.
Most of the times, nursing homes are believed to be the only option for those who can’t take care of themselves at home. But this not completely true. Elderlies can also choose to stay at home because there a lot of services they can get help, ranging from help with laundry and shopping to caregiving and visiting home health services. Assisted living is also another option if staying at home is no longer possible. If the primary need of the older adult is custodial care rather than skilled medical care, assisted living can be an option.
Nursing homes are for those people whose families do not care about them. This is not true. Nursing homes are there for people whose families cannot provide the necessary care they need. Putting an older family older member in a nursing home where the family member’s needs are met is the responsible thing to do.
Nursing homes provide poor care. This is also a myth. Necessary information about the facility’s staffing and previous violations are available to the public. This will help you judge whether a nursing home provides poor care or not.
Lastly, you cannot leave a nursing home once you are in. This is only true if the care needed is necessary through the end of life. However, returning home or going to another housing option is possible if the care needed is only rehabilitative.
When you hear the term “nursing homes” you will automatically think a place where old people are being taken care of. While that is true to some extent, a nursing home is a place for people to be cared for outside of the hospital. Nursing homes also provide a high level of medical care.
The term “nursing homes” nowadays are often replaced with a name that is descriptive of the type of service that is offered. Example of this is “convalescent care center” or “rehabilitation center”. This means that nursing homes are not only for patients that require care for the rest of their lives, nursing homes also address medical care that are often specific and temporary.
True nursing homes have two types: intermediate care facilities and skilled nursing facilities. Intermediate care facilities do not have nurses but instead have certified nursing assistants (CNAs) on staff 24 hours a day. These facilities also provide primary assistance such as bathing, dressing, personal hygiene, toileting, and more. Skilled nursing facilities on the other hand have either a registered nurse (RNs) or licensed nurses (LPNs or LVNs) on staff 24 hours. These facilities are for patients that require ongoing medical care in addition to assistance with daily activities, medical care such as physical therapy, wound care, respiratory therapy, pain management, and more.
A patient can actually be in both skilled nursing facilities and intermediate care facilities. In most cases, a patient can be in a skilled nursing facility after a hospital stay and then eventually move to an intermediate nursing facility when there is no longer a need for medical care but the patient’s capacity to live independently has diminished.
Many nursing homes offer both skilled nursing and intermediate care. That is great for patients that will require both as they will receive continuity of care with many of the same staff members.
The United States has about 19, 000 nursing homes, and more than 1.5 million of Americans live in them. Most of the homes are owned privately, and others are operated by the government. Some are also operated by profit-driven corporations. Others are sponsored by religious and civic organizations. Different states have laws regulating the operation of nursing homes, and even require them to get license. In order to ensure they follow the law, periodical inspections are conducted.
Three types of nursing homes exist today: skilled, intermediate, and supervised. Each kind offers a particular care for certain groups of patients. In selecting a type of nursing home, there are two main things to include in the decision-making process:
An admirable nursing home is it matches both the medical and psychological needs of their patients with their existing resources.
For instance, not all elderly individuals require the same medical care. A study shows that a lot of relatively healthy people live in nursing homes that have excellent medical facilities. While other patients who need more medical attention live in inadequate medical facilities.
Most elderly people who live in nursing homes are still productive. Some institutions provide activities for such residents. A good nursing home encourages their residents to have hobbies and to participate in various activities and services involving them in the community.
Most families agree to put their elderly loved one in nursing homes as a last resort. Sometimes, they do so when the person’s health conditions grow too severe and the family finds it difficult to take care and keep the relative at home. For other old people, who decide for themselves to stay at nursing homes, they regard it as a final step before death.
Supplying nursing home residents with stimulating and engaging activities is an integral part of enhancing their quality of life. Managing directors, nurses, and therapists need suggestions for various kinds of activities which will satisfy the various needs of those within their care. Activities aren’t all bingo and watching television. Actually, activity programs can be very creative which stimulates the resident’s mind. And also the health and well-being advantages of a great program are becoming a lot more important.
The greatest challenge for just about any activity coordinator is matching the best activity to every resident’s physical and cognitive abilities. Leisure practitioners should also work carefully using their nursing staff to select an activity that will be most advantageous for the needs of every individual resident. Activities can be achieved individually or perhaps in groups if your particular activity is appropriate for the residents.
The following activities can be included in the existing activities in a nursing home facility.
Exercises: This may include gentle calisthenics which are modified towards the residents’ physical abilities. Bouncing, throwing and kicking beach balls offer physical activity and mental stimulation. For instance, wheel chair-bound residents may still manage to use their arms to simulate actions like moving a bowling ball or swinging a baseball softball bat.
Gardening: This activity is seeing revival in recognition. Some residents might enjoy growing herbal plants inside a window garden or planting flowers in containers. Given that many residents cannot do it on their own, so staff must be able to assist them.
Games and Handcrafts
Simple games that are suitable to their physical ability and age can have a positive effect on the residents’ health. Indoor games specifically board games are healthy past times and great mental stimulants. Handcrafting can also be included in the set of activities to be offered to the residents.
Many nursing home facilities are extremely understaffed that they might be endangering the welfare of the patients; this is according to a report by federal health authorities. The report suggests more stringent recommendations that will require thousands of nursing facilities to employ more nurses and nurses’ aides.
According to several studies, under-staffing in nursing homes has led to many issues in patient’s condition like severe bedsores, abnormal weight loss, and malnutrition. It is, of course, hard to maintain the welfare of the seniors if a facility lacks manpower. It has been reported that a huge amount of patients have developed life-threatening infections that could have been avoided if there is proper staffing.
The US government has already made several vital steps to resolve the issue. It suggests new federal standards to ensure that patients receive no less than two hours of care every day from nursing aides, amongst other things, there must be sufficient amount of nurses and other health professional within the facility. The research states that 54 % of nursing facilities presently fall underneath the suggested minimum standard. This is very threatening, given that it may endanger the life of the senior.
Studies suggest that patients receive only a minimum of 12 minutes each day of care from nurses. Presently, 31 percent of nursing facilities don’t meet that standard amount of nurses. Though the government has intentions in resolving the problem, it is still impossible for the government to propose minimum staffing recommendations since they were supplying insufficient subsidies under Medicare insurance and State Medicaid programs. Many senior care authorities explained that it is also hard to attract and retain good employees because of the status of the economy. Making the job appealing for nurses and developing a program will increase the quality of healthcare service that our seniors will receive in a nursing home.
There are many nursing home facilities in the country today. If you are considering a nursing home for yourself or for a family member, there are a few things you need to consider. Before admittance, you need to inquire with the management to determine the services they offer and the facilities available. There are different services a nursing home provides. It depends on the location or focus of the facility. The usual services include room and board, medication and monitoring, and emergency care as well as social and recreational activities. Personal care is also included like bathing, dressing, and toileting assistance.
Choosing the best nursing home needs time to work. You may begin the quest for an appropriate nursing home well prior to seeking admittance to the facility. Preparing in advance may lead you to a more suited nursing home for you. Ask your family for their opinion as well as the care providers on what services you’ll need. Make time to consider what services you need before calling different nursing homes. You may also consider the daily assistance you need like bathing, eating, dressing etc.
Before arranging a stay to a nursing home, ask about openings, admission requirements, level of care provided and participation in government-funded health insurance options. It is also necessary that the nursing home has the right facilities in case of emergency. To know whether the nursing home suits your needs, you must see it for yourself. Ask the management about their services and look around. You can l interview some patients to know about the quality of the services they received from the nursing home facility.
There are many issues regarding the quality of services offered by nursing homes. There are complaints from family members that say their elderly was mistreated or abused by nursing home employees. To get proper care for your beloved, you need to understand how the nursing home system works and how to fix or avoid these problems.
If you have an idea that there is something wrong with their services, it’s best to talk about it with the nursing home employees. Friendly, open approach with the medical staff, nursing staff, the manager and other employees will help prevent issues from becoming serious. When an issue continues, however, chances are that other family members and citizens are also affected.
Communication among family members is so important. The regulatory managing authority of nursing homes allows family members to talk with their elderly member in their own private area. You need to consult your loved one regarding the treatment he or she received within the facility. If you find some issues that you can resolve on your own, you can discuss it with the management. But if it is not possible, you can encourage a consultation with the management, employees and the residents as well as their family members to discuss the issues and how to deal with it. It shouldn’t get into a blaming confrontation. It should be in a democratic and professional way. You are there to resolve issues, not make them worse.
Nursing homes, ideally, should be a comfortable place where residents receive the care they need. They must be their extended home where they get the right treatment and reverence. It is the responsibility of the management to provide proper training and education to their employees, to upgrade their services. Never reduce your respect to the needs your loved one deserves.
Offering your free time to something that will benefit others is a very noble act. Volunteering will make you feel you did well with your free time by helping others; something memorable and worth the time. Nursing homes are one of the destinations of those who want to volunteer and spend some quality time serving people in need of a companion and assistance. Yes, a nursing home is not a fun place to visit; some call it a boring place. That’s a dishonor to our elders.
Volunteers are not required to have a background in healthcare or have some specific degree or certification. All you need is your willingness to volunteer. The usual needs of the nursing home residents are of course medical care, but they also need mental exercises and emotional connection that is very important to keep them healthy. If you become a volunteer in a nursing home, you will be involved in activities and games that are very exciting and enjoyable. During these activities, you might be hosting contests or dances, bingo nights and card games. These kinds of activities will make the residents forget about the loneliness.
You can also spend time talking to these remarkable residents who walked the earth long before us. You will be amazed by what you will hear about their life, the history that you are not aware of and their amazing adventure throughout their life. You will gain quality time and good memories throughout your shift as well as receive great smiles from the new people that you will meet. If you are the type of a person that loves interacting with people and open to extending help to others through your time, you might be suited to volunteering in a nursing home.
A nursing home is a provider of custodial care for older people who can no longer take care of themselves. They differ from other senior housing facilities since they provide a much higher level of medical care. Assistance with feeding, bathing, and dressing are part of the services they offer as well as physical and speech therapy. Some nursing homes are designed to look and feel like home, which makes the mood more at ease and won’t make the elderly feel like a patient.
It may be painful to send a family member to a nursing home, it is still the best option to ensure the safety, health maintenance and as well as practicality. Most nursing homes provide residents with nursing aides and skilled nurses who will who will be on hand 24 hours a day.
So when should you consider sending your family member to a nursing home? Here are some of the things you need to ask yourself before making a decision:
Is your family member can no longer take care of himself? If yes, then it would be risky to leave him alone at home when everybody’s at work or at school. Most of the elderly became forgetful, like wandering and forgot the way back or leave a stove that may lead to a disaster. Bringing him to a nursing home where nurses can provide him basic services will then be an option.
Are there any family members who are available to take care of him? In some situations when the need for a nursing home is just temporary, family members can rotate care or hire a health worker who can work part-time when it is needed.
Are you ready to be separated? It would be hard to send him away when you are used to living with him. But you can visit him anytime at the nursing home whenever you have a free time.
Is the nursing home you know can provide his needs? The senior’s medical needs must be provided and a 24-hour supervision is must. The center must also have programs and conducts activities that will keep the elderly active and healthy.
A primary cause of hospitalizations from nursing homes, discussed in industry literature for more than 20 years, is the inadequate health professional employment levels in nursing homes. Last fall, the Kaiser Family Foundation released two studies about the hospital stay of elderly care facility citizens. Their findings about why elderly care facility citizens are hospitalized confirm earlier research in this field and point to the need to increase health professional employment in nursing homes as a way to improve quality of care in assisted living features and reduce hospital stay and re-hospitalization of patients.
The Kaiser study, “Financial Incentives in the Long-Term Care Context: A First Look at Relevant Information” determined the economical incentives that encourage hospital stay of elderly care facility citizens. These incentives include Medicare payment policies for doctors, skilled assisted living features, and hospice services as well as the dual roles of healthcare director and attending physician frequently being held by the same individual.
A companion study, based on interviews with doctors, nurses, social workers, and close relatives of residents, determined 10 factors that encourage hospital stay of elderly care facility residents: the limited capacity of assisted living features to address healthcare issues; physicians’ preference for inpatient settings; concerns with liability for not hospitalizing; economical incentives for doctors and facilities; inability of assisted living features to address residents’ healthcare needs; lack of relationship between facility staff, doctor, and family; lack of advance care planning; family preference; and behavioral health problems. Although several factors impact a decision to hospitalize an elderly care facility resident, a key factor determined in the Kaiser reviews and other studies mentioned is the lack of sufficient professional and paraprofessional medical staff in nursing homes. The insufficient employment in assisted living features has been recognized for a long period.