Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Why doesn't someone do something?

I hear, quite often: "Why doesn't somebody do something?"  Americans seem to have forgotten they are someone.  Too often people sit back, waiting for someone to step up and 'do something.'  It's a good thing that people like Martin Luther King didn't wait for someone to do something.  He, as did many great names in history, realized they were somebody and they did do something.  Have I driven this point home yet?

I see 'celebrities' (using the term loosely here) like Perez Hilton, getting a lot of looks on their blogs because fashion, stupid famous actors and the like, seem to be foremost in people's thought.  Way too much so. Young people think they will be young forever, never grow old and nothing like old age happens to them.  Ha Ha!

When it comes to nursing homes, too many loved ones will say 'why doesn't somebody do something?'  The loved ones are somebody, they pay the bills at the nursing home, making them very important somebodies.  I used to hear many complaints as a Social Services Director, about how the nursing homes were run.  Sometimes they were families just wanting special treatment for their loved one, but the complaints were always genuinely true.  Why shouldn't all residents get special treatment anyway?  After all, they pay enough to certainly warrant special treatment.

What can loved ones do to help change the traditional nursing home environment?  

1)  They can get to know other families who have loved ones living there.  Once they get to know others, they can get together once a month and draw up, write things down, take notes and present the Administrator with their concerns.  Remember, as loved ones, you can make a difference, safety in numbers.

2)  Request small steps in making the nursing home a culture change place.  Where to start?  Well ask why the damned nursing station cannot be moved to an office and not placed in the middle of each wing.  

3) Ask why all the rooms cannot be private rooms so your loved ones do not need to undress in front of a stranger all the time.  Nursing homes can charge just a bit more and still make a good buck.  Do you invite strangers into your room to undress in front of them?  Probably not.

4) Ask why a choice of meals cannot be offered to your loved ones.  When the dietitian decides, the meals are bland and unappetizing.  Cannot imagine why your loved one refuses to eat.

These are just simple starters.  The private room one is big because everyone should have access to the window, not just the person lucky enough to have a window bed.  The removing of the nursing station immediately removes the obstacle people have to try to maneuver in wheel chairs and with canes.  Since the nursing stations are usually off limits to people, it immediately establishes the staff, not the paying customer, is in charge.  People living there pay the bills, not the staff.  Why should staff call the shots?

I hope this blog gets through to people who feel frustrated by traditional nursing homes.  Remember, it does not have to be that way.

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