Thursday, 17 September 2015

Nursing Homes in the News

Yesterday's paper. Front page news. Nursing homes and bedsores. Yet again, nursing homes in the news. And not in a good way. I don't think good experiences are ever reported. Not that they don't happen; I have heard a few positive stories over the years - but good news doesn't sell papers.

The stories of two people were disturbing to say the least. One woman dying of her sores, another ending up hospitalized because of them. Both nursing homes were interviewed and both said that changes had been made since the incidents to decrease the chance of it happening again. These are two homes - what about the hundreds of others province-wide? While our government is doing better with inspections and reports, apparently it is not enough. The reality is, even if they go in once a year or even more frequently, ultimately it all comes down to trust that when they are not there, the home performs and provides care as they should as if an inspector was sitting there 24/7. The government can create standards galore but, the reality is, unless the staff in the homes follow them to the letter, incidents like those detailed in our paper yesterday, will keep happening.

It highlights the importance of families staying involved and understanding that even when a relative is moved to a care setting, they are still 'care givers' and need to be involved and advocate the minute they have concerns. It is unfortunate that entrusting someone you love to an institution dedicated to providing care for the elderly, does not guarantee good care. But it is a reality right now. There are some wonderful places that provide excellent care; but there are others that simply do not or can do better.  While relocating someone to a care home can relieve pressure on a family and provide necessary care, there will always be situations when family involvement is important and necessary. Do keep this in mind if you are in the process of searching for alternate care for a loved one or if you have someone you care about in a home.

Be present. Ask Questions. Watch, Look and Listen. Visit at different times a day and on different days. Stay involved. Advocate for the person who cannot do it for themselves. If you have concerns, contact administration immediately.

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