What You Need to Know About Nursing Home Care

Putting a loved one in a nursing home is often a stressful experience. As a concerned relative, you want to make sure that your elderly family member is getting the best care possible. But before you drop off your loved one, you need to understand how a nursing home works as well as your role within this complex healthcare system. Use these tips to improve your loved one’s stay at a nursing home.

Identify Someone as the Responsible Party
If there are multiple family members checking in on your loved one at the nursing home, the flow of information between the facility and your family can easily get lost in the shuffle. It’s important to designate one person as the “responsible party”. This person will be the first point of contact in your family when it comes to dealing with the facility. They should have a copy of all the patient’s legal and medical documents, including an Advanced Healthcare Directive or a Physician’s Order for Life Sustaining Treatment. This person should be easily available by phone or email in case anything goes wrong at the facility.

Create a Dialogue with Facility Attendants and the Administrator
You’re bound to have questions about the type of care your loved one will receive at the nursing home, so it’s best to develop a good relationship with the facility attendants as soon as you arrive. Be polite and patient with the people that man the facility. As frustrating as your situation can be, remember that many facilities can be understaffed or overbooked due to the number of patients admitted. If your loved one has any special needs such as dietary information or lifestyle preferences, talk to the Certified Nursing Assistants. Be clear about any concerns that you might have as they are seen as the primary caregivers for most of the patients.

Give Your Loved One the Space to Be Independent
As much as you care about your loved one, you need to give them the space to be in control of their situation. This is their life, after all, and, while you may be their biggest advocate at the facility, let them adjust to their new lifestyle at their own pace. Giving your loved one more independence will help them feel more at home at the facility. As you make arrangements at the facility, defer to your loved one and give them input on every decision that needs to be made. If you’re dissatisfied with a staff member or the care that your loved one receives, give your loved one a chance to voice any concerns they may have for themselves.

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