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Monday, April 16, 2012

Nursing Homes

“I would never put my parents in a nursing home.   They are just warehouses for the dying.”

“No one that loves their parents would ever dream of putting them in a nursing home, where they are abused, starved, and left sitting in urine and feces for hours.”

“I would rather die than go to a nursing home.”

“I could never work in a nursing home.  It’s so depressing, and it would be so boring.”

These are just a few of the comments I have heard from people when they find out I work in a nursing home.   Many of these people have never spent much time inside a nursing home.  They may pop in once or twice in their lifetime, look around, and make a snap judgment about the place from the first impressions they receive.

Unfortunately, some nursing homes are not ideal.  But the ones where I have worked are not that way.  The residents are cared for by caring professionals, who are up to date on the most current treatments and regulations. 

The Annual State Surveys of these nursing homes have been excellent.  There are no perfect nursing homes, because they are staffed by human beings, but the people I work with care about the residents and have taken them as family to an extent.  The sound of laughter between the residents and staff and visitors is like bright cheerful music.

There are activities planned daily, and often at least twice if not three times a day.  Besides the usual bingo, which remains a favorite for many, there are shopping trips to the local stores, trivia, and trips down memory lane where they can talk about the “Good Old Days”, and their lives before admission.

Some of the residents live in the assisted living and independent living areas, and can leave the building with family for special occasions, or just to go for a ride.  Families often bring meals in and share with the residents in the residential dining room.

Televisions, stereos, computers, cell phones, and other miscellaneous electronic gadgets are available for residential use.  Books and magazines are brought in by staff to share with the residents.

Spiritual  needs are met by local ministers and priests, and we have an entire wing dedicated to the Sisters from the local Convent who need special care.  Our beautiful chapel has regular services several times a week which are attended by residents, and by parishioners from the area parish.  Volunteers assist the residents to the chapel and help them return after the services.

The food is very nutritious and tasty, and the residents have a say in what is served.  Each meal plan is offered with multiple choices in entrees and other courses.  Supplements are offered for those needing extra calories or nutrients.  We have a relaxed meal schedule, so that those who wish to sleep in for breakfast can still have a hot delicious meal when they get up.  Some prefer to eat in bed.

We have full time laundry and maintenance technicians, and  requests are usually filled immediately for repairs that are needed, or equipment that is needed for ease in handling the residents day to day cares.

We have a staffed Restorative and Therapy Room daily with physical, occupational, speech, and restorative therapists on staff.  It’s not unusual to see residents walking in the halls with a staff member by their side.  Some that cannot walk longer distances have motorized wheelchairs or scooters that they use for mobility.

The nurses are competent, knowledgeable, and compassionate.  They will go the extra mile to make life better for the residents.  The aides are hard working and get along pretty well with each other.

The facility itself is attractive.  The chapel and front lobby are beautiful with high vaulted ceiling in the front lobby reaching to the skylight in the roof.  Carpeting and tile floors are in good shape throughout the facility. There is a working fountain outside the main dining room windows, and a lovely courtyard surrounded by residents’ rooms in the center of the facility.

We have animals that roam freely around the facility.  A dog, several cats, and an aviary with colorful birds keep the residents feeling like they are in a homelike atmosphere.

There are so many other nice features about the place where I work.  The other nursing homes where I have worked have similar qualities.  I have not been in a nursing home that is like what is described in the opening paragraphs in this area.

If you would like to do something special for someone, come to a nursing home, and spend some time with the residents.  Just sit and talk to them, watch some television with them, share a few stories, take them for a wheelchair ride to see the aviary.  It would brighten their day immensely.  And it will make you feel special too.  If you like the experience, become a volunteer.  They are always needed.  You can ask the personnel director how you can help make someone’s life a happier one.  God will reward you for it too.

God bless you.


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