Saturday 16 November 2019

Elderly are 'left without a say on nursing homes'

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Some elderly people have been moved directly from hospital to a nursing home without having a proper say in the decision, a major new report reveals today.

While most express satisfaction about their move to a nursing home, some are distressed by the way it was planned, or communicated to them by their families.

One woman who was hospitalised after a bad fall was told by her sister she could not return to her house and was being admitted to a nursing home.

"She told me it would only be for four weeks," the nursing home resident told researchers.

The case is highlighted in a report 'The Lived Experience of Nursing Home Residents in the Context of the Nursing Home as their Home'.

The first research of its kind was carried out by Ulster University over two years and was commissioned by Nursing Homes Ireland, representing private nursing homes.

The findings which arose from interviews with residents and staff showed that creating a "homely environment" depends on staff knowing the resident.

However, this can be hampered by staff turnover rates and there is a need to consider more creative ways to hold on to workers.

One resident said: "Staff are like your family, you grow to care about them and you love them and then they're gone."

Residents also spoke of the "ageism and stigma" that can surround going into a nursing home.

This is due to the belief by some that long-term care signals the "end phase" of their life.

The researchers said the challenge was not to try to replace the resident's interpretation of "home" but rather focus on creating a new home.

Many reported excellent standards of satisfaction with the care they received in the nursing home - saying it was a "home from home".

However, some were critical of the lack of activities.

A resident commented how she missed bingo and a book club, as well as singing, due to lack of staff.

"Sad really because it affects us. Now it's my iPad - I use my iPad all day."

The researchers, Dr Kevin Moore and Professor Assumpta Ryan, found some staff felt regulation of nursing homes was too strict and did not lend itself to homely care.

Directors of nursing felt under "extreme pressure".

The report, which is launched today by Older People Minister Jim Daly, calls for Fair Deal Placement Officers to ensure that residents are central to the decision-making process about their choice of nursing home.

It said if nursing homes were to become and remain "homes" for their residents, they should be more actively involved in the inspection process and have their voice heard and acted on.

One-third of the staff interviewed had less than five years of experience working in a nursing home.

Some 11pc had 20 years in the sector.

Irish Independent

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