Seems obvious. But perhaps the best person to ask about the state of nursing homes is someone living in one. Kathleen Mears is a resident at an Ohio Nursing Home. Kathleen is a fellow blogger at Long Term Living. Check out her latest entries here.
Who are you and what kind of work do you do?
I have been a nursing home resident for 14 years. I came here when I was 47 years old and I am 61 now. I am a writer and have been writing a column in Long Term Living Magazine since September of 2009.
What are some positive trends (if any) in the nursing home industry?
That is a difficult question for me to answer. The only positive trend that I can see is ‘ person centered care’. Our last administrator believed in that philosophy and it seemed like we had a better relationship with her.
I do think they are trying to change the design of the newer nursing homes. But since I do not live in that type of facility, I do not know how it would impact me as a resident.
What are some negative trends (if any) in the nursing home industry?
I think that would be the building ideas that come about. I personally do not like the Main Street idea. It just seems like window dressing to me. What really needs to be changed as a way that care is delivered.
What correlation do you see with respect to the national trends in the nursing home industry and the impact on patient care?
I think that most nursing home owners realize that nursing homes must get ready for the baby boomers who will be arriving in a few years. Nursing homes will no longer have the patient population born between 1900 and 1930 that will wait for their care. I know that care in nursing homes is definitely changing where I live. Maybe it is only one person at a time but it is changing.
How would you compare the nursing homes of today with those of 20 years ago?
Many nursing homes today are physically virtually unchanged from the way they were in 1990. Many of them are still styled in the way that they were built in the 70s. The biggest changes would be in the newer nursing homes featuring the Main Street design. They would definitely be prettier to the potential residents eyes.
Residents are treated with more respect today. The whole nursing home industry knows that they are being watched by visitors and others who enter their facility.
What suggestions do you have for families when selecting a nursing home for their loved ones?
I would suggest that family members to their own research into the facility’s background. They should make visits unannounced. They should not take the PR given out by the marketing person at the facility as gospel. They should ask hard, tough questions. They should visit the units to see how they look, how they sound, and how they smell. They should taste the food to find out what it is like. If possible, they should read a few books about nursing home life and check out the New York Times Blog ” The New Old Age”.
Three words to describe nursing homes:
Custodial Care Homes
For more information on nursing homes in Ohio look here.