Improving Quality of Life at Nursing Homes: Private Duty Care

nursing homes

Many people have a bad impression of nursing homes. The news reports mainly negative stories. Nursing homes (or skilled nursing facilties–SNFs) provide necessary care for many people. Many nursing homes work hard to provide a high level of nursing care combined with a home-like environment. As they continue to care for more complex needs, this is a difficult (and often underappreciated) process.

Nursing home quality varies widely, though. Our care managers can help you identify the best facilities for your needs, as well as assist with nursing home advocacy.

There are also little things you can do for your loved one to improve quality of life in the nursing home. Today, we’ll share how private duty care can make a difference. A personal caregiver can help with adjustment, provide an extra set of eyes and ears, personalize your routine, and keep you involved in favorite activities.

How Private Duty Care Can Help in Nursing Homes

Making you at home in your new environment

When first moving to a nursing home, having some extra care and attention can help the person be more comfortable. It is also a time when staff is getting to know you and you are getting to know what to expect. Having someone there to find help when needed can be invaluable. The private duty caregiver can help make your room more comfortable, escort you to activities, get to know the routine and more.

When working as a nursing home social worker and admissions director, I used to spend a lot of time with residents and families on their move-in day. I’d also check in frequently during the first few days and we created a routine for staff to rotate in and help welcome the person. It can be a lonely and scary time for the new resident. Unfortunately, not enough nursing homes plan well for this key time. And, if you move in late in the day, on a Friday, or a weekend, you will likely get less attention.

Getting “out and about”

Private duty caregivers can escort you on outings. Nursing homes have various activities, but sometimes you want to stay connected to different activities in the community. You may want to attend your old church or bridge game, go to a weekly lunch at your favorite restaurant, or do holiday shopping for your family.

Additionally, caregivers can help you discover what the nursing home activities have to offer, especially at first. In between scheduled activities, a caregiver can help you take a stroll around the facility or wheel you out to the garden. They can play music for you, sit and chat, or help you video chat with family members.

Check out our post “Can I take my loved one out of the nursing home?” for more on the rules and logistics of outings, especially as you consider holiday visits this time of year. Contact us if you need an aide to assist.

It’s the little things: personalized attention

While a quality nursing home provides good care, it is geared to the interests of all residents. Nursing homes can’t always cater to your individualized needs. Think about things that your loved one really cares about, the things that make his/her day. Hiring a private duty caregiver even once/week to help bring the personal touch can make all the difference.

Caregivers can be especially helpful during key times when staff may be rushed trying to help many residents. Does your loved one need a lot of time to eat their meals? A caregiver can spend the time and improve nutrition (and enjoyment) greatly. They can help with the morning routine or bedtime care. Consider having extra help during transitional times, such as after a hospitalization or during/after an illness.

How To: Private Duty Care in Nursing Homes

  1. You have the right to have private duty care in the nursing home, but should understand any applicable rules. Most facilities need to know who is coming and going. Therefore, the caregiver will need to sign in and out. They typically can’t help other residents. And, there are some things they may not be allowed to do with/for you.
  2. Inform staff ahead of time about your caregiver(s). Ask staff to document it in the resident’s chart. Provide the home care company’s information in case there are any questions/concerns.
  3. Respect the routine/rules of the nursing home. The caregiver should avoid disturbing the work of the staff who have to care for many residents. It’s usually quite welcome to have someone else helping residents, but everyone has to work well together. Discuss how the caregiver should address any concerns they find (usually, they can ask the appropriate staff if there’s an immediate need but should report problems or concerns to you or their company). Set up a care plan meeting to work out any conflicts and set a clear agreement.
  4. Most home care companies will require a four-hour minimum block of time for sending out a caregiver. Go over your needs with the company and discuss how to make the best use of the time. At EasyLiving, we create a personal care plan for each client based on his/her preferences and routine. This provides guidance for your caregiver to offer the best care suited to your needs.

For high-quality private duty care and answers to your eldercare questions:

contact EasyLiving