One of the hardest decisions we will ever face is choosing a long-term care facility for a loved one or ourselves. I will never forget the look on my mother’s face the day we left her at the local nursing home. It was a look of desperation, sadness, and betrayal. Entrusting someone you do not know to provide for your needs or the needs of someone you love is scary to say the least. That is why choosing the right nursing home is such an important task. If you want to attract new residents to your facility, you need to understand what residents and their families are looking for.
From my experience as a daughter and granddaughter of previous long term care residents; there are a few things that would make some nursing home facilities stand out above the others.
- A Caring Staff
- Accessible Technology
- A Feeling of Home
- Social Activities
The decision to place yourself or someone you love into a nursing home is tough on everyone involved. Family members are left with feelings of guilt and anxiety. Are they doing the right thing? What kind of care will my loved one receive in this facility? On the other hand, residents are faced with leaving the comforts of their own home, being away from family, friends and loved ones. They often feel alone, lost, angry and unloved. This is where having caring staff can be so important. Counseling services for both the resident and family members should be a priority. Highly qualified nurses and staff should strive to maintain a good rapport with both patients and their families. Always acknowledge any concerns and make sure the needs of your residents are being met to the best of your abilities. Residents will choose facilities that can reassure them they are in a safe and secure place where they can look forward to spending the rest of their golden years.
Another important asset is offering a variety of opportunities to connect and communicate with loved ones. Oftentimes, family members are unable to visit as often as they would like. In today’s hectic world, people sometimes prefer to stay in contact with each other through the use of technology. Facilities providing access to technological tools such as facetime, e-mail, and social media platforms allow for residents to interact with others in multiple ways, helping them to feel more connected to the outside world.
More often than not, once a family member is placed in a nursing home, visitation from loved ones begins to dwindle, leaving the resident feeling forgotten and unloved. Be sure your facility portrays the warm, cozy feeling of being at home. Include accessible areas for family members, especially those with young children. An outside park, play area, or an indoor family game room would be great attractions. What grandparent doesn’t want to be able to spend some fun time with their grandchildren, even when staying in a nursing home? These types of areas would encourage family members to want to visit more. A welcoming, family oriented environment is an excellent way to draw in prospective residents and their families.
Last, but definitely not least on the list, would be the inclusion of social activities allowing residents to interact with one another, make new friends, and learn new skills. For example, my grandmother loved to play BINGO and attend special events at her nursing home. These types of activities helped to keep her active and alert. Field trips to age appropriate functions within the community are also a must. For bedridden patients, the facility should encourage volunteers within the community to visit, play board games, read, sing, etc., with these patients daily. My mother suffered from dementia and rarely left her room, knowing someone was interacting with her during the day helped tremendously and reassured us she wasn’t being isolated.
What families and residents need most out of a nursing home facility, is a caring and sympathetic staff willing to give support to both the family and residents, multiple opportunities for residents to interact with friends and family, an atmosphere that make residents feel at home, and an active social environment. If your facility has these major attractions, family members and future residents will be lining up at the door to be a part of your community.