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ARTICLES / General / When A Loved One Needs a Skilled Nursing Facility

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When a Loved One Needs a Skilled Nursing Facility
Tips for a successful stay for the patient, visitor and caregiver

by Trish Hughes Kreis

(Page 2 of 4)

Have patience with the staff
Realize the staff has many, many patients and are on a schedule to give high quality care to all of those patients. No day is like any other because there are always unpredictable emergencies, but there are meals to give out every day at particular times; medicine to be carefully sorted and charted and given to patients several times a day; showers and restroom assistance to be given as well as physical therapy and doctors’ visits to be scheduled. Have patience if butter didn’t come with your meal and you’ve politely requested it, but it hasn’t come when you would have liked. Have patience with the nurses as they count and recount the dosage of the medication to be sure each patient receives the correct medication. Have patience.

Be involved in your recovery
The administrator reiterates, “The partnership involves the resident as they need to be receptive to care as well as staff from the facility.” If you need physical therapy to improve, don’t resist your physical therapist. Be involved and be honest with your therapist. If the pain is too much, maybe the time of your session can be adjusted to better suit you. Communicate with your therapist so they can give you the best care for you and your situation.

Being the Good Visitor

Get to know the caregivers
It is crucial to establish a rapport with the caregivers. Know who is taking care of your loved one. Working in a SNF takes a certain caring type of person and it is not always pleasant work. There are cranky patients, diapers and beds to be changed and sometimes, oozing wounds or sores that need to be carefully handled and managed. This is difficult work and it does not hurt to thank someone for being kind or to know them by name. Bringing the occasional baked goods as a way of thanks doesn’t hurt either.

When necessary, talk to the caregivers about a problem. Some are easily resolved, some may need to wait a short time for the maintenance person to fix. The administrator stresses “families need to advocate for their loved one.” The care facilities expect families to communicate with them about any perceived problems or issues. To help ensure success in resolving issues, start with the assumption the caregivers care about your loved one (they do).


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