Moving into a nursing home is a major life event. Along with a change in living circumstances comes a change in family dynamics and the carer role.
Care of a family member doesn’t stop with the move into a nursing home. Nursing home care brings new problems and challenges that can take time to adjust to.
Ensuring a family member gets quality aged care in a nursing home is a families top priority. However, how much involvement you have in the care of a loved one in a nursing home will vary according to your own commitments and relationships.
Some family members are very involved in the daily care of a loved one whilst others because of distance only visit on occasions or manage a weekly phone call.
Care of a loved one in a nursing home takes patience and understanding. At times it may feel like a full-time job. After time most residents and families adjust quite well and find new meaning in their relationships with their loved ones and with nursing home staff.
However, common problems do come up.
Coping with the transition into an aged care home
The move to a nursing home can be overwhelming. At first your parent may prefer to stay in their room. After an initial settling in period most nursing home residents start to feel comfortable in their new surroundings.
It can help to encourage a family member to go the dining room for meals and get involved in activities. Getting good nutrition, meeting new people and having round the clock nursing care can actually improve a person’s condition.
The social events on offer in a nursing home can be stimulating for many new residents who were previously isolated in the home.
If a family member is taking a long time to adjust and they appear depressed talk to the nurse in charge. Depression is common in nursing home residents and some people will not cope in a nursing home environment.
Handing over nursing care
Many carers who previously had a lot to do with the care for an ageing family member will find it difficult to pass on their duties to nursing home staff. Some carers will feel relieved.
Nursing staff will try to maintain a resident’s normal daily routine as much as possible. However keep in mind that sometimes a nursing home won’t run like clock work. Staff shortages can mean showers are late or meals get cold. Frail sick residents may need extra nursing care and attention.
Unfortunately when many people live under the same roof things go missing. Inevitably at some point clothes will end up in other resident’s rooms, teeth will get misplaced, hearing aids may go astray. At times this will be infuriating.
Nursing home staff will try their hardest not to misplace anything. But be prepared for things to get lost. You can help nursing home staff by clearly labelling items, supplying small containers for glasses, hearing aids and other special items.
New staff or agency nurses won’t know your loved ones routine. Making a simple check list for staff can save time and hep avoid unnecessary problems.
Concentrate on spending quality time with a loved one and helping out in some small way. Ensuring a loved one has everything they need by checking bathroom bags or rearranging clothes can help. If you are available and willing ask the staff to call you if they need help. A helping hand at meal times can be invaluable.
Enjoying meals together, going on outings and sharing family news can make all the difference to a loved one and other residents.