Nursing Homes Myths

EvergreenMoving 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.

What Are the Recommended Activities for Older People Living in the Nursing Homes?

Most elderly people who live in nursing homes still have the chance to develop their quality of life by means of joining some exciting physical and mental activities. These activities will help them in maintaining their self-confidence and self-worth.

Providing daily or weekly activities for the elderly is a biggest challenge to all nursing home staff. They have to link the activity to the personality of their residents. However, encouraging depressed senior citizens or those with low self-esteem to join the activities is the hardest part.

Nursing home staff should conduct a therapeutic activity so that the elderly people can benefit from it. In this article, we will give you the list of the recommended activities for older people living in nursing homes.

nursing homesCounselling
Talking to the elder residents one by one is recommended. Nursing home staff should assess their residents about their physical and emotional status. This activity is helpful since you will know what activities they want. Senior citizens living in nursing homes have a very low self-worth since they think they are already forgotten by their loved ones. Simply talking to them will help them develop their confidence, self-esteem and self-worth.

Early Morning Group Exercise
Early group exercise is the best morning activity for senior citizens. It includes stretching, mild bouncing and kicking. Exercise provides better mental stimulation and physical activity to the elder residents. It also prevents them from having heart and lung problems. Nursing home staff can also utilize gaming consoles such as xbox Kinect or Wii as an exercise tool for people who are in wheel-chairs.

Art activities
Painting is known to be the best mental activity. It helps elderly people think actively. By doing this activity, senior residents are prevented from other mental disorder such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Painting can also relieve series of arthritis attack.

Agricultural activities
Older people are known to be good at this activity. They like to grow plants, trees, flowers in pots. Although some of the residents can no longer do this activity due to sickness. This activity promotes better mental stimulation and muscle activity.

Music Therapy
Music has the capability to uplift the mood and spirit of every person. Nursing homes should include this in their daily activity since it promotes mood relaxation. Residents can also sing and play music together since it promote bond and comfort to one another.

Activities in Nursing Homes

nursing homeSupplying 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.

Considering 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.

nursing_homesSo 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.

Care Lapses in Nursing Homes

Eight Connecticut nursing homes have been penalized by the state Department of Public Health for lapses in proper care. On Nov. 7, Beacon Brook Health Center in Naugatuck was penalized $2,180 in relation to a citizen who passed away May 23 of cardiopulmonary arrest and a bowel impediment, DPH records show. DPH discovered that the house’s healthcare record did not indicate that an abdominal evaluation was done on May 23 after the citizen reported of feeling sick and a stomachache on May 22. Also, healthcare records did not indicate that a doctor had seen the citizen after May 21 and the home did not have a policy about stomach tests. On May 23, the citizen was discovered without a pulse and CPR was started. The citizen passed away after paramedics came and took over the CPR.

In a similar case, a Beacon Brook citizen with congestive heart failure incorrectly was not given drugs for fluid retention and no excess weight factors were mentioned in the resident’s history that would have activated a doctor’s notice. The citizen gained nine pounds between July 10 and July 21 and was put in the medical center for difficulty breathing and liquid excess. DPH discovered that the drug was mentioned in a doctor’s purchase but not in the drugs history, so the elderly care facility ceased providing it to the citizen on July 9. The citizen spent five days in the medical center.

nursing_homesBeacon Brook’s manager, Betty Garcia, said that the occurrences happened before she took over, so she could not comment. On Nov. 6, Manchester Manor Health Care Center was penalized $2,250 in connection with two occurrences, including one on May 29, when a nurse’s assistance had left a citizen in a bathroom, heard a thump and then discovered the citizen on his or her legs with a deep cut on the temple. The cut required five stitches to close and personnel discovered that the assistance had breached a safety rule at the nursing home by leaving the citizen alone.

A health professional was observed on Oct. 30 providing a citizen with Alzheimer’s disease coffee without a lid in breach of a doctor’s order that the citizen be given a lid on all hot drinks. State records show the citizen had been burnt off on the hip and legs Aug. 2 and on the stomach on Oct. 2, after dropping hot coffee that was provided without a lid. Administrator Jane Ellen Gaudette said the staff has been retrained since the occurrences and the property is in full conformity with state guidelines. These lapses in care, although minor can have very relevant effects in nursing homes.

Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Dilemma

For family members across Kansas and Missouri, struggling to choose the right service to take care of an aging beloved with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, an important aspect of the decision is understanding the differences between nursing homes and assisted living. It is a dilemma Mitzi McFatrich deals with every day as the executive director of Kansas Advocates for Better Care, a non-profit advocacy organization assisting elderly care service residents and or their family members. “There are so many of us that are aging and a large number of those individuals are going to have Alzheimer’s disease and dementia,” she said. “How are we going to fulfill their care needs?”

nursing_homesPeople often mix up nursing homes and assisted living facilities, but the two are not exactly the same. A nursing home provides health care to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia patients, with RNs on-site eight hours a day. In Missouri and Kansas, assisted living facilities employ RNs on a limited basis. Because assisted living facilities receive health insurance funding, there are strict state and government regulations on staff training, the number of employees required per shift and the level of cleanliness. There is zero government oversight for assisted living centers; very few state rules. Medicare often pays most of a patient’s elderly care service bill. In assisted living facilities, a resident’s family must shoulder the whole cost.

While a nursing home service agrees to become a permanent residence for individuals no matter their disease, a person who’s Alzheimer’s disease or dementia worsens can be discharged from an assisted living service. The director of education, programs and public policy for the Alzheimer’s Association, Heart of America chapter, Michelle Niedens says these care facilities can evict a resident in as little as 30 days. “There’s often an over promising; ‘We can handle your mom and dad, through the whole disease course,’ that is, until some major bump occurs and then the game gets changed,” Niedens said. According to McFatrich, facilities will say, “We can no longer fulfill this person’s needs. And that’s what they use in order to release someone.” That release or eviction can affect a family’s ability to find their loved one a new house.

Neglect in Nursing Homes

Many of today’s nursing homes are managed by thoughtless and selfish business people whose main objective is pleasing their investors. They are compensated with nice incomes and rewards for team cutting and other cost-cutting methods. Profits are spent in powerful lobbying groups that enjoy effective influence over law makers and authorities. These organizations respond to medical negligence legal cases, not with training learned and corporate mandate to improve care, but with tort change, introduced and passed into law by greedy and recompensed congress. Eighty percent of the sector’s payments come from community funds, Medical health insurance and State health programs and we are not getting our entire worth.

nursing_homesHealth and Human Services revealed that medical health insurance paid $5.1 billion dollars for poor elderly care facility care in 2009. Harmless repercussions of poor care have taught this market that it’s more profitable to offer poor care and pay an occasional fine than it is to hire and train staff to offer proper care. Sequestration cuts are further weakening the bite of regulating agencies that view themselves as in “partnership” with the very market they’re charged with watching. Charges are meager, inconsistently gathered and do not act as preventives.

Silence and inaction are daily pointers that our community doesn’t want to think about old individuals suffering neglect and abuse in nursing. Even organizations with “aging” and “health care” in their titles don’t want to cross the nursing-home limit. The realities of life and death in nursing homes are too dark and our man’s instinct surrenders to more enjoyable matters. Accounts of abuse are as ignored as the sufferers themselves and reform supporters are continuously advised they can’t force individuals to good care. There are no children or pet dogs or cats to save in these experiences. They are old individuals who can no longer protect and defend themselves. Unfortunately, the number of individuals willing to rebel against this highly effective profit-motivated industry continues to be low. This is why true change and proper care remain out of our reach. We simply need more individuals to care and to be counted.

Nursing Homes Quality

Ohio tax payers are paying large numbers to nursing homes that don’t succeed to fulfill minimum state specifications for looking after their citizens, falling short of a bar many say is too low. Even three nursing homes on a government watch list for high numbers of inadequacies over long periods, two in Cincinnati and one in Youngstown, met Ohio’s quality measures, which give a passing quality even if a service flunks 75% of state specifications. In all, $12.7 million was invested to take good care of sufferers living in nursing homes that did not achieve at least five of 20 measures for great quality care, according to research for the financial year that ended June 30 from the Ohio Department of Medicaid. Still, less than 1% fell short of that standard, only nine of the 926 nursing homes. One has since closed. None is in central Ohio.

nursing_homes“We’ve got some good signs, but the floor is so low everybody can fulfill those,” said Robert Applebaum, home of the Ohio Long-term Care Research Project at Miami University. He also served on the advisory board that released suggestions to congress for enhancing care. “We need to do a better job of getting rid of bad-quality homes, but we also need to do a better job of reimbursing the high-quality homes.”

Medicaid, which provides coverage of health to poor and impaired Ohioans, will pay for approximately 70% of nursing-home care in the state. On average, the federal-state program includes about 58,200 long-term-care citizens. Last year, in an effort to improve institutional care, the state started demanding features to fulfill at least five of 20 high quality measures to earn a full State Medicaid programs payment, which earnings $165 a day per person. The measures include giving citizens meal options, enabling them to choose when they get up and go to bed and the opportunity to customize their bedrooms. The nine nursing homes unable to fulfill the mark lost 10% of the payment, or nearly $16.50 of the per-resident daily subsidy. Those funds are to be allocated to the more than 900 facilities meeting the standard.

Owning Nursing Homes

92% of county-owned nursing homes outside New York City lost money in 2010 and are struggling to survive, a report uncovered. Counties have been looking to leave the nursing-home business as expenses rise and as they face fiscal demands from flat tax earnings to pay for government operations. The report from the Rochester-based Center for Governmental Research said 33 areas own nursing homes, down from 40 in 1997. Eight, including Rockland County, are in the process of selling their features and five plan to put them on the block.

The New York State Health Foundation, a private Albany-based group, requested the research. “In the past few years, six areas have marketed or closed their houses, with mixed results ranging from improvements in proper care expressing closing of one poorly performing house,” said Donald Pryor, the study’s author, said in a statement. “Other areas have kept their houses but are dealing with an increasingly rugged landscape.” Counties traditionally considered running an elderly care service as a way to take care of its elderly, particularly those who are poor. Yet at a time of cost constraints, counties are finding the mission affected as more private houses are built.

Nursing-HomesWestchester County marketed its elderly care service to the Westchester County Nursing Center and the service was closed in 2009. Dutchess County sold its elderly care service in 1998. Monroe County has struggled with growing expenses of its nursing home and in Albany County; there has been a delivered debate about whether to sell its service. Broome and Chemung counties also own nursing homes. The troubles are expected to grow as the population ages, the research discovered. In the upstate areas with assisted living features, there will be 180,000 more residents older than 75 by 2030. The research said wages grew at all assisted living features 37 % since 2001 and were up 45 % at county houses.

While county houses are about 8 % of all assisted living features in the state, they represent about 11 % of all the beds in the state because they are among the state’s largest facilities. Many of the patients rely on State Medicaid programs, yet the payments haven’t kept up with the expenses by as much as $100 a day, the review said. State Medicaid programs represented 71 % of county-owned homes’ revenue in 20130, in comparison to 55 % for other houses. County assisted living features reported a lack of $201 million in 2010, double the decrease in comparison to 2005, the review said.

Nursing Homes Vacancy

At the House Rehabilitation & Nursing Center in Simsbury, 17 of the nursing home’s 73 beds sat vacant last spring, a 23% opening rate that would have been unlikely five years ago. The home’s occupancy has decreased despite its above-average medical care quality ratings in the government national rating system. “There are a lot of aspects, a lot of projects out there now to keep people out of nursing homes,” said Keith Brown, the home’s manager. “And with the increase in home care, we’re seeing a weaker citizen population. So we have fewer citizens with greater skill.” The Simsbury home is not unique: Nearly one-third of Connecticut’s nursing homes are less than 90 % filled.

nursing_homesOf the 68 homes with higher-than-average opening prices, 20 were only 60-80% filled, leaving hundreds of beds unused. State-wide, even though 15 nursing homes have closed since 2008, at least 2,450 beds were vacant as of May. The state information show that occupancy prices decreased in all but two areas since 2004, falling from 96% to 88% in Tolland; 95 to 88% in Litchfield; 95 to 91% in New Haven; 93 to 90% in Hartford; 95 to 92% in Middlesex; and 97 to 93% in Windham. The exclusions were Fairfield County, where the occupancy rate stayed at about 92% and New London, where it increased from 88% to 92%.

Overall, Connecticut’s nursing home occupancy rate has tumbled in the past years, from 93.3% in 2003, the third maximum in the nation, to 89.8%, the Tenth maximum, according to March government information. The latest state Department of Social Services nursing home demographics put the statewide occupancy amount at just above 90%. Only 11 of the 230 certified nursing homes in the state were full to capacity as of last spring. Nursing home directors say the opening rate has been motivated by a number of aspects, including state projects to keep more seniors and impaired citizens in home and community configurations, as well as the ballooning assisted-living industry, generally controlled in Connecticut.