If you are caring for a family member in a an aged care home expect to be challenged on a daily basis. Problems will occur and not every day will run smoothly.
If you are concerned over the nursing care of a loved one speak to the registered nurse in charge. Talk to nursing staff early on about your concerns and try to come up with solutions together.
Mum is not getting showered on time
Many families get upset when they arrive at an aged care home to find that their family member has not had a shower early in the morning or before a certain time. Nursing staff will try to maintain a resident’s normal daily routine as much as possible. If your mum prefers a morning shower she should be showered by morning tea. Afternoon showers are usually between 3pm and 5pm.
However, keep in mind that sometimes a nursing home won’t run like clock work. Staff shortages can mean showers are late or missed. If another resident is sick they will need extra nursing care and attention from staff.
Daily showers aren’t always necessary and if a resident is clean and comfortable having an afternoon shower won’t hurt. Nursing staff should offer your mum a clean bowl of water and a washer in the morning to freshen up before breakfast.
If your family member is incontinent staff should be replacing wet and soiled pads in the morning after a quick sponge to ensure good personal hygiene. Not showering till later in the day becomes a problem if residents are sitting in wet pads, increasing the risk of infection and skin breakdown.
Residents with dementia can at times resist showering. Nursing staff will usually make several attempts at showering throughout the day. Forcing a person to take a shower can be very traumatic and dangerous for both the nurses and the resident.
If you are concerned that your mum’s personal hygiene is being neglected talk to the registered nurse in charge. Dirty fingernails and hair, excoriated groins, dry scaly skin and foot infections could be signs of poor personal hygiene.
The nursing staff keep losing mum’s things
Unfortunately when many people live under the same roof things can go missing. Inevitably at some point clothes will end up in other resident’s rooms, dentures will get misplaced and hearing aids may go astray.
At times this will be infuriating. Aged care staff will try their hardest not to misplace anything. But be prepared for things to get lost.
Hearing aids constantly go missing in nursing homes. If your family member has dementia talk to an audiologist about replacing expensive hearing aids with a listening device. They can be easier to handle and more difficult to lose.
You can help nursing staff by clearly labelling items, supplying small containers for glasses, hearing aids and other special items. Sew on labels work best for clothes as iron on labels fall off in the wash. Engrave dentures before you enter the aged care home. Some nursing homes do this but it’s better to ask a dental technician.
If your family member has dementia they may lose or misplace favourite items constantly. Its not uncommon for people with dementia to accuse staff of taking or hiding objects like wallets and jewellery. It’s better if valuables are kept at home. You can make a list of objects usually kept in a drawer so staff can check the list at night.
A favourite handbag with a wallet, unused cards and small change can help relieve any anxiety but be prepared for it to disappear or turn up in strange places. Buying two of the same handbag can help.