Helpful Tips For Understanding Nursing Home Care

Written by Carney, Sugai, & Sudweeks, LLPNursing Home care

Having a loved one in a nursing home can be a confusing and emotional experience.  Understanding the various aspects of nursing home care and learning how to handle your concerns which may arise will greatly contribute to the success of your loved one’s stay.  These are twelve tips to help improve your communication with the facility staff and provide a better overall experience for you and your loved one.

1.  Have realistic expectations.

2.  Understand the purpose and extent of the care.  Some families and residents believe that the nursing home staff should be personal attendants to the residents and do everything for them. This is counterproductive to the goal of rehabilitation, which requires that each resident be encouraged to do as much as possible independently.  Safety is paramount, so if your loved one is at risk for falling, it will be important that he or she not try to get up out of bed without assistance from the staff.

3.  Important tips upon admission.  It is very important to provide the facility with a copy of all of your loved one’s legal documents that relate to his or her wishes regarding health and personal care and that designate an agent for such care.  It is important that one person be assigned as the “responsible party” to communicate with the facility.

4.  Know the Medicare rules.  Medicare will pay for a limited amount of care in a skilled nursing facility provided that certain qualifications are met.

5.  Meet with the facility staff.  Get to know the Administrator, Director of Nursing, Social Service Director, etc. Know their responsibilities in relation to your loved one’s care.

6.  Get to know the Certified Nursing Assistants.  CNAs provide most of the care to the residents.  Be courteous but clear about anything your loved one needs.

7.  Understand dietary precautions.  Always check with the nurse BEFORE giving any food or drink to any resident. Giving a resident the wrong type of food or drink can be potentially dangerous or harmful.

8.  Respect your loved one’s rights.  Your role is to communicate your loved one’s preferences to the staff.  A written summary of your loved one’s daily routine is a great way to relay needs to the staff.

9.  Respect other resident’s rights.  Respect the other resident’s rights in respect to noise, visitors, and privacy.  Know the visiting hours and be particularly considerate when visiting outside normal visiting hours.

10.  Visit and participate as much as possible.  Participate in the quarterly Care Conferences, observe the rehabilitation services, and visit often.

11.  Communicate your needs and concerns.  Voice any concerns about your loved one’s care and life in the nursing home promptly to the charge nurse or CNA.  If you have a concern, the more details the better.   The more specific you are the greater the possibility that any problem can be corrected.

12.  Be prepared for discharge.  Arrange for training from the rehabilitation team several days prior to discharge.  Meet with the physician if possible.  Have home health services arranged.





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