Posted on May 9, 2011 - by Nurse Virginia
GIVE THE GIFT OF A GREAT VISIT
What is so hard about visiting in the nursing home? If the visit is lacking planning, it may deteriorate into an opportunity to criticize the nursing home and its staff. The visitor doesn’t understand their criticism undermines the confidence the elder has in their caregivers. It may also make the elder feel they themselves, aren’t somehow measuring up to standards.
The elder even if suffering from a dementing illness can understand tone of voice and body language, and understand when someone is being critical.
Many visiting families just don’t seem to know what to do. Families arrive with young children and nothing to eat, drink or do. The children stand there at attention while being introduced to great-grandma and encouraged to say “Hi,” then there is nothing. Once they are inspected for how much they have grown, there is nothing for them but to be told to sit down and be quiet.
The family may not have visited for some time but one there they may start quizzing the elder. “What did you have for lunch today Mom?” The family member hasn’t been there for the past three meals a day for several months, but today is all about today’s lunch.
Families will show their discomfort by standing around the elder – looking down on her – while commenting on how “good” she looks. The only other time a person will have people just standing around looking at them, is at their funeral.
Celebrate National Nursing Home Week by learning how to have a really good visit. Suggestions of things to do, things to make and eat, the how to of creating the comfort of a” family visit.”
“Come In – The Door’s Open”
Visiting in the Nursing Home
Virginia Garberding, R.N.
Director of Education, The Wealshire, Lincolnshire, Illinois
Author: Please Get To Know Me – Aging with Dignity and Relevance
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