Scenario: Mom is 84, had a falland is in the hospital due to a broken hip. She needs therapy and going home does not seem to be the best course of action at this time. The doctor has suggested that she go to a nursing home for inpatient rehabilitation. She is being discharged from the hospital in two days – now what??
How do I go about making sure that I am making a good care choice for my Mom? I have never done this before – I have no idea how to proceed! I wish I could take care of Mom myself at home, but I just can’t manage it with my full time job, my obligations with my kids, etc. But this is my mom and she deserves the best! But what is the best??
The immediacy of nursing home care typically happens due to a catastrophic event like the one described above and families are put into a situation where you need to find a care facility for their loved ones with no time to prepare for this important decision. The Illinois Pioneer Coalition (IPC) identified that the community needs to be empowered with their care choices as we age because unfortunately, most people do not know what they should be looking for.
About Your Way
Through the creation of the manual Your Way! How to Find Dignity and Choice in a Nursing Home and the provision of ongoing education to the community, the IPC has been provided with grant funding to enhance community knowledge on what they should be looking for and demanding in care facilities.
The Illinois Pioneer Coalition is a non-profit volunteer board that promotes education and training on person centered/directed care to the long term care provider community. Annually a Summit is held where professionals come together throughout the state to learn how to provide better care for the elders in IL. The focus of the conversation centers on allowing people to wake-up, go-to bed, eat, bathe and live as they did prior to moving into a long term care setting.
We are now at a place where we need to educate the elders and their families to create demand for better care so that those nursing homes who have not listened, start. For a full listing of the questions, go to the website, www.IllinoisPioneerCoalition.org .
At the site you will see the link “How to choose a Nursing Home”. Click on this and it will bring you to the manual in its entirety, a care needs evaluation, and the Your Way! Questionnaire.
So what exactly are we encouraging people to ask?
Will the same Nurse’s Aide always care for my loved one?
Can I eat outside of the assigned meal times?
Are the staff, elders and their families smiling?
Are there no distinct odors?
Will you celebrate my birthday on my birthday?
We explain why all these questions are asked in the manual with the underlying reason being that if the home is doing these things, then they have changed the culture of their building to one that provides person centered/directed care. The home is looking at the person as the individual that he or she is, relationships are formed and true care is provided.
When we think about it, when we go on vacation we spend hours researching hotels – we pay attention to the star ratings, we look at the hotel pictures, we find out what other travelers have said about the hotel, we talk with our friends and neighbors about where they stayed and how they liked the place. We really hope that all the “work” researching pays off so that we can have a nice vacation – after all we are paying for it with our hard earned money and deserve to stay at a nice place!
This much time and attention needs to go into our elder care choices, so I want to encourage all of you to be empowered, ask questions and make this important decision in a thought out manner because your Mom deserves the BEST!
Lee is a guest blogger. She is the Director of Consultation Services of Quality Therapy and Consultation and an Illinois Pioneer Coalition Founding Board Member &
Consumer Project Manager.
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