Culture change, the Eden Alternative, whatever you call it, things are moving in that direction. In my experience, the nursing home I worked in that was most attentive to the psychosocial needs of the residents was the one that was in the process of becoming an Eden Alternative home
Many, if not most, of the services offered in the nursing home can be provided through home-based care. What sets nursing homes and other long-term care sites apart is the opportunity for residents to socialize with each other with ease. Savvy facilities will make the most of promoting their recreation programs and facilitating connections among residents and their families.
The turnover rate in long-term care is a very significant problem, so I dug into the research about it. Some of the findings were shocking. Others were simply very disappointing. Here's what I found, and what can be done to improve conditions.
After Ms. Ryan's psychotherapy session, I stopped at the nursing station and asked the nurse for the name of her aide. The nurse pointed to a uniformed woman right next to me, who turned and asked me with hostility, "How do you know it was me?" Surprised, I responded, "I just wanted to tell you Ms. Ryan was really happy with how you did her hair today. She wanted me to thank you for her." The aide appeared stunned. The nurse commented, "We usually expect complaints, not compliments."
In my last post, I wrote about some of the many things I do for residents as a long-term care psychologist. The astute reader will note that most of the tasks were accomplished during work hours and within the facility. There's a reason for that.
Many of us in long-term care think of our jobs as a calling. We handle the day-to-day tasks and the business as usual but also get a lot of energy and joy out of taking our work one step further. Here are some actions I've taken that have enriched my patients and my role as a psychologist.
I've heard many complaints about roommates from residents over the years. While some roommate difficulties need to be addressed on a situation-by-situation basis, most conflicts revolve around a few basic issues. Here's a handy guide to conflicts and potential resolutions to print out and give to staff.
"I hope Santa brings me a Sony DS," my 7-year-old told me the other day. I can tell you right now that Santa is NOT bringing her a video game player, but I didn't want to tell her that. So I did what I imagine most parents would do in that situation: I asked her what else she hoped Santa would bring. What does this have to do with long-term care? As it turns out, a lot.
The upcoming holidays are an ideal time to provide extra services that showcase your high level of care and make the seasons more pleasant for families and residents.
Since I now Skype regularly with my 94-year old father-in-law and his wife, the concept of telemental health doesn't seem as futuristic to me as it used to seem. I was shocked to discover, however, that the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) was established 20 years ago, with the first applications of telemedicine occurring over 40 years ago. Apparently, I've been behind the times.