August 9th, 2010 at 9:28 am
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Nursing Homes Supplement Family Care

by Isabel Fawcett, SPHR

I hope that the day never comes. If the day comes, however, my one consolation will date back to my younger years. I always have been clear with my parents about how I view nursing home care and placement.

My personal worldview is that nursing homes provide skilled nursing care when needed round-the-clock. The examples I’ve shared within my family include physical immobility, advanced respiratory health complications that require medical equipment, inability to swallow or ingest food, and being totally oblivious to one’s surroundings. Those medical circumstances are way above my layperson’s abilities to safely manage. I’ve never hesitated to initiate this discussion with my parents or siblings.

I periodically revisit this topic in conversation. I strive to avoid surprises and trickery in care. Like other relationships in life, caregiving is rooted in trust toward the caregiver. The last thing I want is to breach the trust my mother has in me. I also want to be sure that Mom clearly understands what lack of skilled nursing home care would mean to her health and safety if certain health complications were to arise. “I’m not a nurse, Mom. Neither would I be able to physically turn you every 2 – 4 hours in your bed if you were to become bed-ridden for any extended period of time.”

Pressure Relief and Bed Sores

While some nursing homes and hospitals have been inconsistently successful in ensuring regular relief of the body’s pressure points to prevent the development of bed sores among some residents and patients, such institutions are better prepared than I could ever hope to be. Some nursing homes have been cited by state inspectors for their failure to regularly turn immobile residents to avoid pressure build-up that may lead to bed sores. Nursing and direct care workers also must look for, report, and timely treat decubitus ulcers on patients’ bodies.

Feeding Tubes

No 2 ways on feeding tubes. Skilled nursing oversight and direct care assistance is required for patients who rely on feeding tubes. Feeding tubes may be necessary when a patient is unable to chew or swallow food.

Elders Who Walk Away

Though some nursing homes have been cited for failing to prevent some of their residents from walking away from the nursing home, most facilities have far more safeguards in place to protect their residents from elopement. Unlike in-home, windows and most doors are secure and alert staff is on duty 24/7.

Nursing homes fulfill a critical social need.

Posted in Caring At Home, Nursing Home | 3 Comments »
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3 Comments to “Nursing Homes Supplement Family Care”

  1. Isabel Fawcett

    Hi, Susie! Your sharing reminds me that as primary caregivers we are leaders, first and foremost. Sometimes the decisions we make or circumstances we face make no sense to others, including other family members who second-guess our every move.

    You know the truth about your Mom’s situation and care. You, not your siblings, have carried the load of your Mom’s care. Hold your head high knowing that you have done your best.

    Until an individual has walked at least a mile in your shoes and mine, no one understands what eldercare entails. You are not alone. There is one other EldercareLink.com blog I’d like you to read if you have a moment. It’s called “So Many Things Are Not an Option in Life.” I think you’ll understand when you read it.

    http://blog.eldercarelink.com/2010/05/so-many-things-are-not-an-option-in-life/

    Thank you for visiting EldercareLink.com! I hope you will visit and share your thoughts often. As fellow caregivers, we both speak a common language. Blessings to your and your mother during this life transition. I understand, Susie. When that day comes, skilled nursing care is hardly ever the wrong decision. Your siblings still may be in shock, which is also understandable.

  2. Susie

    My Mom is in a skilled nursing facillity and my two younger siblings are furious. They do not seem to understand Mom’s condition, nor the fact that it was an emergency situation and that actually it was the hospital who transferred her there. They think I could have convinced Mom to walk into an assisted living facillity and that she would just agree. My brother still speaks to me, even though he’s angry but my sister will not speak to me at all. They are not hurting me as much as they are hurting my mother. She needs skilled nursing. They don’t think she’s as ill and the other residents. I had no choice and they still do not believe me. Their ignorance is incomprehensible.

  3. Isabel Fawcett

    Thank you for your feedback and visit, Sue.

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