Thursday 26 April 2018

Families should be involved more with nursing home life



FAMILY interaction with nursing home residents is a critical aspect of quality according to a new study published by Home Instead Senior Care in Bray.

The study outlined the main factors which nursing homes should take into account to further improve the quality of life of their residents. These factors include: family; privacy; relationships; keeping active; religion; and interactions with staff.

The research was carried out with 100 elderly residents living in four different nursing homes and was compiled by Dr Suzanne Cahill PhD and Ms Ana Diaz Ponce from the Dementia Services Information and Development Centre (DSIDC) and the School of Social Work and Social Policy Trinity College Dublin.

According to the report, open-door visiting policies should be encouraged whenever possible so family members can see their elderly relatives as often as they wish. Nursing home staff are also encouraged to involve family members as best as possible in the life and culture of the nursing home, as many family members feel a void in their lives after an elderly relative moves out of the home.

Interestingly, residents with single rooms said they felt more 'at home' in long term care as they could personalise their rooms and make them homely. Residents also spoke about the freedom of being able to return to their own room when they felt like it and enjoyed the privacy and intimacy of a single room.

Residents also said they enjoyed seeing new people and new faces coming into the nursing home and building new relationships. Initiatives that facilitate elderly peoples' connections with their past lives and outside world, such as voluntary workers coming into nursing homes, or transitional students on work placements are recommended.

Speaking about the publication of the report, Seamus Murphy of Home Instead Senior Care in Bray said 'there comes a time in some older peoples' lives where nursing home care is necessary and they must move from the home to a long term care setting.

'Making this move can have a profound effect on both the older person and their families and we encourage nursing home staff to consider how they can best improve the quality of life of both the senior and their family members and help them adjust to their new environment. It is my hope that this study generates awareness of the factors that affect the quality of life of nursing home residents and that older people living in a nursing home will experience an improved quality of life.'

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