Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Selecting a Care Center

Loved this recent New York Times article on selecting a care community, "One Way to Judge a Nursing Home."

In the article, the author talks about trying to select a nursing home for his mother over 10 years ago.  He would ask the person touring him if he could talk to the nurses aides.  All but one said "no" - indicating that their aides hadn't been with them very long.  In the one building that said "yes," he discovered that the nurses aides had all been there for years.  They loved their jobs and felt rewarded and appreciated by the organization.  It was an excellent choice for this author - and great advice to others looking for a place for their loved one.

If you're faced with this challenge, don't look on the outside (beautiful place, doesn't smell) - look at the people.  They're the ones who will be providing the care to your loved one.  They will either become significant people in your loved one's life, caring, supporting, observing and loving them, or they'll be here today; gone tomorrow.

People who become caregivers generally have a deep compassion for the people in their care.  When they leave - which most will, in today's revolving door of caregiving - they are not leaving their clients.  They're leaving organizations that don't provide the training they need to continue to build caregiving skills.  They're leaving supervisiors who are just interested in filling shifts and covering their tasks.

They are leaving, most often, employers who don't recognize, acknowledge and appreciate the physical hard work of a caregiver, not to mention the emotional burnout it's easy to feel when you spend your day caring for people who need you desperately.

Halting turnover is one of the most important things we can do to improve the overall quality of care we give elders in this country.  It's not rocket science, either.  Just good, old-fashioned attention to meeting the needs of the people doing this most vital work.  Training them (a lot), supporting them (emotionally, verbally and financially); appreciating them for the work they do - every single day.


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