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When A Loved One Needs a Skilled Nursing Facility
by Trish Hughes Kreis
Know the shift change time
I am guilty of not following this simple rule!
It was actually unintentional, but I picked up
my brother for discharge during a shift change.
The caregivers were still very accommodating,
but it created extra work during an already
chaotic time. Knowing the shift change will also
allow you to talk to nurses during less busy
times. If there is one particular person who is
relaying information to you, know his or her
shift so there is not frustration when this
person does not return the call for hours.
Have patience with the patient.
Your loved one is in pain or, if they are getting
better, probably bored out of their mind. Encourage
them to participate in the activities at the SNF,
but also bring them things to do when you arenít
able to visit (crossword puzzles, books, magazines,
a deck of cards). When you are visiting, take them
outside to get fresh air if possible. Push them
around in a wheelchair or walk with them for a
change of scenery if allowed. Play cards with them.
Talk with them about your day and people they know
and miss. Bring pictures for their room. Visit as
often as possible. Patients who have visitors are
known to heal more quickly than those who do not.
While youíre visiting, donít be afraid to say hi to
some of the other patients. A smile and a hello to
someone stuck in wheelchair (possibly not even aware
of where they are or why) never fails to get a
return smile or a twinkle in their eye.
Being the Good Caregiver
Know your patients
It was always heartwarming for me to see most of the
people where Robert was staying knew him by name and
acknowledged him when they saw him outside of his
room. They knew he had seizures and took great care
to ensure his safety. They were diligent about
calling me when seizures did occur. They were caring
and compassionate; not only with my brother, but
with the other patients as well.
Leave your personal problems at home.
There are some jobs where it doesnít matter if
youíre cranky because you got into a fight with your
boyfriend or your car wouldnít start that morning.
These jobs do not involve serving sick people. When
your job is to give the best possible care to
someone, there is no room for snippy comments or
cranky behavior. Yes, it is not enjoyable to change
an adult diaper, but do not make the patient feel
bad for being in that position. No one purposely
decided to have their body turn on them and lose
control. Iíve seen aides change a patientís diaper
with love and care and without leaving the patient
feeling embarrassed or ashamed. That is a skill you
cannot teach, but it is one to aspire to.