Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Telling Our Stories

Blogger Christinemm shares a story in her blog about her grandmother's recent stay in a nursing home. Luckily for her, she is now ready to return to live in her own home. Her family will be challenged to pull together all the resources they need to make this happen and to support her in her own home, but they are happy to do it.

Like most seniors, Christine's grandmother wants to live out her remaining years in her own home - who can blame her? Especially if her experiences in her brief nursing home stay were distressing and negative.

I've encouraged Christine to share her stories - if not publicly, privately to me or to others in the field. It is only by sharing our stories that we can begin to shed light on areas where "culture change" and "person-centered care" are not yet clearly understood by those providing care to our most vulnerable seniors.

I truly believe that the folks actually providing the care - the nurses, aides, CNAs, caregivers and other direct care providers - genuinely care about the work they do.

If we provide them with the tools they need, give them the training they need to do the work, and reward them for their efforts we'll have new stories to tell: stories about people going to extraordinary lengths to care for others and about stays in nursing homes that were life-affirming, positive experiences.

I'm waiting to hear stories about nursing homes that start, "I had always thought going to the nursing home was the last thing I wanted to do until my recent experience," and end, "I have changed how I think about nursing home care forever!"

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