3 Rules For Managing A Loved One's Nursing Home Care
When your parent or other loved one moves into a nursing home, it can help them to have family members or other trusted loved ones who can advocate for them and help manage their in home nursing care. Nursing home staff members are usually happy to work with family members to make sure that their patients get the best possible care. Take a look at some simple rules that will help you more effectively manage your loved one's nursing home care.
Designate One Person as Healthcare Coordinator
It's great for your loved one to have lots of friends and family members who care about them. The more the better! But it can be confusing and time-consuming for the nursing home facility to have to communicate all of the relevant information to multiple people. Designate one person to be in charge of communications between the family and the facility about your loved one's care. This person should be the emergency contact person and the person named in an Advance Directive for Health Care or a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, if your loved one has either of those documents.
That doesn't mean no one else can talk to the nursing home staff at all. For example, if someone other than the designated coordinator is visiting your loved one in the nursing home and notices that the patient is in pain, they should feel free to alert the nurse and ask for pain medications. But concerns about your loved one's overall treatment plan should be handled by the designated coordinator.
Get to Know the Staff and Their Roles
It takes a lot of staff and a lot of different types of work to run a nursing home. Your loved one will be cared for by not just the nurse who administers medications, but also by the nurses' aides who handle personal care, the dietary staff who prepare your loved one's meals, and the rehabilitation therapists and their aides who help your loved one maintain as much independence as possible.
Familiarizing yourself with the different staff members and their roles in your loved one's care can help you know who to address when you need something taken care of quickly. If a change needs to be made to your loved one's diet, bringing it up with the Head of Dietary Services can result in changes a lot faster than mentioning it to the nurse.
Respect the Other Residents
It's important to remember that a nursing home isn't just a medical facility; it's also a home. And it's home to more than just your loved one. Chances are that your loved one will be sharing a room with one or more of the other residents, and they'll certainly interact with other residents as they go about their day. Part of making sure that your loved one has a good experience in the nursing home is helping them get along with their roommates and other residents.
When you visit the nursing home, be respectful of your loved one's roommate's privacy and comfort. Don't bring lots of people into the room with you if the roommate is sleeping or bring the family dog in to visit if the roommate is allergic or phobic. You can always bring your loved one outside for a stroll, instead, or ask the staff if there's an empty room you can use for a visit. You may want to make an effort to include other residents in activities with you and your loved one, like playing cards or putting together a puzzle. This can help facilitate friendships between your loved one and other residents, and it might brighten the day of someone who doesn't have friends or family to visit with.
Moving to a nursing home is a big transition for your loved one, and the more you and other family members and friends can visit and help out, the smoother that transition will be.