WHEN NURSING HOME PLACEMENT IS DIFFICULT

“Dad really had to go into a Nursing Home,” Janet, the daughter told me. She then told of how difficult it had become for her mom to take care of her dad.  Her dad Jerry had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease several years earlier. Since his admission to the Nursing Home, Jerry had been constantly demanding that his wife take him home. After one month of this, her mom was starting to say she would bring him home.

Janet said it had been so very difficult for the family to take this step, of nursing home placement. That it had been done for her mother’s health and welfare as much as for her dad’s. She was dreading, yet one more difficult conversation with her mother. Of course she could just not say anything and let her mom go get her dad, even though she knows this would not end well for either of them. Avoiding a difficult conversation, is always choosing temporary peace over certain conflict.

This time Janet chose to open up to her mother and tell her what this would mean to Janet, if her mother brought dad back home. She began thinking through; what do I want, what do I want for mom, and what do I want for dad?   She then made  a date with her mother, when they could both enjoy some time together without distractions.

Janet began her conversation with her “I want” statements. After some discussion about what she wants for herself and the life she pictures for her mother, Janet talked about her dad. ” I want dad to be safe, well cared for, happy and living among people who aren’t strangers but really know him.” She told her mother she had just read this book that she would like to share with her, that will “help us get there.”

Please Get to Know Me – Aging with Dignity and Relevance, is the story of my journey during the 14 years my mother lived in a nursing home following a stroke. Offering the reader specific ways to help families continue to provide quality of life for their loved one  while helping their loved one, form connections with the nursing home staff.

Virginia Garberding RN

Certified in Gerontology and Restorative Nursing

KNOWING THE PATIENT – PERSON CENTERED CARE

Knowing the patient?  We never knew Mabel.

Mabel died today. Minutes later, a nurse hurried down the hall carrying two old books. She stopped and excitedly showed me what the staff found when they cleaned Mabel’s room. She held up books on physics. “Mabel wrote them! Can you believe that? I never knew she wrote anything.”

We had cared for Mabel for six years, but none of our staff knew she had written any books. When she came to us, Mabel was already afflicted with Alzheimer disease. We learned later, after her death, that Mabel had been a prominent physicist.

As I listened to the nurse, I thought. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful if Mabel could have enjoyed our expressions of respect, awe, and admiration? Now it was too late.

That true story isn’t an isolated instance. Too often the nursing home staff learns information about residents from reading the obituaries. The individual life stories never make it to direct care staff, even if it had been told to social workers on admission. The story had been diluted to minimum facts on a fill-in sheet at the back of the chart under the social service tab.

Book excerpt from: Please Get To Know Me – Aging with Dignity and Relevance

In this time of cost cutting, healthcare workers managing more than one job to make ends meet, and the multitude of problems with patients requiring more care, it is hard to get to know the patient.  This book provides the information for anyone, friend or family member to become actively involved in a patient’s care.  When there is a patient and a caregiver involved, it is the family who knows the patient and can provide that bridge between the two.

Click on the picture of the book, on this page, learn how to become part of the team creating person centered care for your love one.

Virginia Garberding RN

Certified in Gerontology and Restorative Nursing

 

SHOPPING FOR A NURSING HOME – WHAT DOES PERSON-CENTERED CARE LOOK LIKE?

PART III

Having regular access to the out of doors has been found to be necessary for happy and healthy living.

  • A protected outdoor space, garden or patio where residents can come and go independently.
  • Outdoor garden spaces are provided in raised beds so persons in wheelchairs as well as standing residents can participate in gardening.
  • A safe outdoor walking or wheelchair walkway that is not part of the city landscape.
  • Over head paging is used only in emergency situations.
  • Children are welcomed into the nursing community on a regular schedule
  • Community groups are invited to use space within the home and residents are welcome to join the community events.
  • Home has guest rooms available for residents out of town visitors.
  • Home has a cafe or restaurant on the campus available to residents and visitors.
  • A kitchen is made available to famlies with a refrigerator, stove and sink.
  • Staff are scheduled to work with the same residents on a regular basis.
  • The regular nurse and nursing assistant are included in the quarterly care conference.
  • The staff wear street clothes not uniforms.

While touring a nursing community be aware of how often you are greeted by nursing home staff. Just as when staying at a fine hotel, and employees greet you asking if there is anything they can do for you. A nursing community should display that same feeling of sincere welcome.

Great questions to ask staff as you tour are “how long have you worked here,” and follow up with “what do you enjoy about your job here?”  Happy people will want to tell you all about all of the great things about their job and nursing community. Happy and enthusiastic staff will be the most important item on your checkoff sheet.

Virginia Garberding RN

Certified in Gerontology and Restorative Nursing