Giving Thanks to Dedicated Nursing Home Professionals
Much of the space on this blog focuses on problems within the nursing home industry. You may notice though that it is a rare day that we criticize individual nursing home employees. It is one of the toughest jobs I can imagine. Even in an ideal setting it is challenging caring for patients with complex medical problems and very limited abilities to provide basic care for themselves. Many patients are both physically and cognitively challenged. They are at risk for falls, pressure ulcers, malnutrition and a host of other preventable injuries if they are not properly cared for. To make it more challenging the nursing homes often choose to under-staff their facilities to boost the profit margin. Yes, it is a choice. If they provided adequate pay there would be no shortage of workers.
In this context, it is refreshing to read an article praising nursing home workers. A Fredericksburg, Virginia woman heaps tons of praise on the nursing home caregivers for her 101 year old mother. She also offers a simple and yet important tip to people with loved ones in nursing homes: visit often. Not only do the residents appreciate it, so do the caregivers. It also allows you to catch a problem before it becomes more serious. For example, immobile residents need to be repositioned every two hours to avoid pressure sores. Spend two hours visiting and see if anyone comes around to reposition the resident.
It is easy to say of course you would visit often but visiting loved ones is often relegated to the category of when "I get around to it" after a few weeks or months in a nursing home. The visits become tedious for some and work and family obligations take priority. However, there is truth to the saying that a society should be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens and nursing home residents are quite vulnerable.