PERSON CENTERED CARE IN THE NURSING HOME

Cleaning out my mother’s room the day following her death was expected. What wasn’t expected was the parade of healthcare workers who came to the room to pay their respects. In a place where death is understood as the end of a stay, seeing the team crying was unexpected. And while they were trying to say words of comfort, I found myself comforting them. What caused this display of grief?  Person centered care.

Verona died two weeks after her 90th birthday. In the best of times, and the best of health, she was a quiet unassuming person. At the time of her death, she was almost blind, very confused and practically non-verbal. She was total care after suffering a debilitating stroke 14 years earlier. Verona lived in this facility far longer than the staff mourning her had been employed there.

The team not only was comprised of people from the nursing department but activities, maintenance, housekeeping and the management team. How did all of these various people from all different departments get to know this 90 year old woman? It came from the 14 years of on-going sharing, on the part of the family with facility staff of Verona’s life story.

Really caring about another person comes from really knowing them. And the family is the bridge between the elderly person in the nursing home and the staff taking care of them. It makes all the difference to the elder when they experience person centered care and are taken care of not by a stranger, but by a friend.

The story of how this came about, and how you can do the same for your loved one is in Please Get to Know Meaging with dignity and relevance on this site.

Virginia Garberding RN

Certified in Gerontology and Restorative Nursing

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