The well-being and safety of our elderly loved ones is a top priority for most families. When moving a parent or grandparent into a nursing home, families often experience anxiety about entrusting their care to others. It is natural to feel protective and want assurance that your loved one will receive attentive support in a secure environment. While no facility is perfect, there are steps families can take to promote security for a resident.
1. Understanding the Importance of the Right Nursing Home
Selecting the right nursing home is fundamental to ensuring quality care for your loved one. Take the time to tour the facilities that you are considering. Have candid conversations with staff during your visits to understand the facility’s care philosophy and overall culture. Opt for a location close enough to where you and other loved ones live to make frequent in-person visits realistic and convenient. Do your research by reading online reviews and being aware of any complaints filed against a facility. A reputable nursing home focused on preserving resident dignity and providing compassionate support will stand out from other options.
2. Educate Yourself on Resident Rights
Important federal and state regulations are in place to protect nursing home residents from abuse and neglect. Ensure you thoroughly understand your loved one’s rights regarding maintaining dignity, choice, quality of life, and safety as a resident. Do not hesitate to firmly but politely advocate for your loved one if you ever observe violations of these rights. It may be helpful to consult a legal service like Sokolove Law that assists families in upholding their loved one’s rights in care facilities.
Also, take proactive steps to ensure your loved one understands their rights as a resident. Empowering them with this knowledge of their legal protections can assist them in speaking up for themselves when appropriate.
3. Regularly Monitor Your Loved One’s Care
Make frequent visits to the facility at varied times of the day and evening to directly observe how care practices are being implemented. Notice how the staff interacts with residents during your visits. Monitoring for changes in your loved one’s physical or emotional health can help identify issues early when they are most treatable. Have conversations with staff about your loved one’s daily routines and the activities they participate in to ensure quality care standards are consistently maintained.
4. Maintain Open Communication with the Staff
Cultivating positive, cooperative relationships with all levels of nursing home staff benefits your loved one’s overall care experience. If any concerns arise regarding your loved one’s care, be sure to address them promptly but always in a polite and understanding tone with nursing managers. Providing regular input to staff on your loved one’s needs, preferences, likes, dislikes, habits, and quirks enables the care team to personalize care accordingly. Maintaining open, consistent communication channels with all staff members is key to ensuring they thoroughly understand your loved one as a unique individual.
The more the care team knows your family member personally – their personality, their background, their interests – the better they can tailor daily care and emotional support to align with who your loved one fundamentally is as a person. When staff feel personally invested in residents, the quality of care increases.
5. Encourage Social Engagement for Your Loved One
Human beings inherently need positive social connections and regular mental stimulation to maintain wellness. Ensure that a variety of stimulating activities are available at the nursing home facility daily that tap into the specific interests and hobbies of your loved one. Great activity options to inquire about include arts, crafts, music, games, trivia, book clubs, baking, gardening, religious services, and more. Research shows social interaction and engaging in meaningful leisure activities greatly improve seniors’ mood, decrease isolation, boost cognitive functioning, and enhance overall quality of life. Do not hesitate to politely advocate for expanded social and activity options customized to your loved one if you notice a lack in this vital area.
6. Keep a Check on Hygiene and Cleanliness
No one deserves to live in unclean conditions, yet busy nursing home staff can sometimes overlook things like residents’ overgrown nails, soiled clothes, or unkempt hair. Watch for any signs of hygiene neglect during visits. If you notice your loved one could use freshening up, kindly point it out to the nurse manager rather than placing blame. Recommend adding a hygiene refresh to daily care routines if needed. Your loved one deserves to live in a sanitary environment.
7. Be Vigilant About Medication Management
Medication errors, unfortunately, cause a lot of life-threatening problems. Verify at each visit that your loved one is receiving all proper prescribed medications and correct dosages at the appropriate times. Be especially vigilant if they are taking multiple prescriptions to watch for any potential interactions. Set a reminder to regularly review updated medication lists with nursing staff to proactively prevent any issues. Your active involvement promotes safety.
8. Promote Physical Safety
There are simple precautions nursing home staff can implement that greatly enhance residents’ physical safety, like maintaining ample lighting, keeping floors dry, securely fastening rugs and mats, and clearing pathways in rooms and hallways of any tripping hazards. Also, check that mobility aids such as walkers or wheelchairs are easily within reach and properly functioning for residents who need them. Be observant on visits and immediately report any potential safety risks to the nurse manager. Your awareness helps avoid preventable accidents.
9. Stay Involved in Care Planning Meetings
Actively participate in regular care plan reviews. Share your loved one’s preferences, needs, and lifestyle. Provide input on their goals for health and daily life. Collaborate with staff to adjust plans as needs change.
Entrusting a nursing home with a loved one’s care is a big step. While staff provides support, you play an important role too. Your active involvement, friendly cooperation, and polite advocacy can ensure your family member enjoys the highest quality care in a safe and dignified environment.
You can get peace of mind follows when you know your beloved elderly relative is protected at their new home.