Becoming an Empowered Caregiver: Limited Nursing Home Resources
The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home or an assisted living facility can be one of the most difficult decisions you’ll ever have to make. After you’ve done your research and chosen a place, the work is far from done. In order to ensure that your loved one receives the best possible care, it is important to take steps to become an empowered caregiver. In this blog series, my goal is to help you achieve and maintain this status in any way I can. Being an empowered caregiver is particularly important in a strained healthcare system such as ours.
Whether in a nursing home, assisted living facility or a hospital, the reality is the same: resources are limited. The nursing shortage has had such a major impact on the health care system as a whole in recent years. Several medical associations and professionals have conducted studies to analyze its effect. According to one study published by The New England Journal of Medicine in 2011, the risk of death rises about 6% in units that don’t have enough nurses on staff.
In an ideal world, everyone would get the care they need, when they need it. The reality is we do not live in an ideal world. As our healthcare system currently stands, we are coping with staff shortages all over the country. Those nurses and healthcare professionals who are on staff are stretched thin. As the baby boomer generation ages, the demand for nurses and healthcare professionals will only increase. According to a brief published by the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living, 27 million Americans will require long term care by 2050. That is a 100% increase from 2000. Ultimately, there will come a time when a healthcare provider or staff member will have to make a choice: to provide care to your loved one or someone else’s. This is the stage when becoming an empowered caregiver becomes extremely important.
It is a sad fact that your loved one is more likely to receive the care they need from the healthcare staff if you are an empowered caregiver. What does this mean exactly? If you visit your loved one frequently and at varying times of the day, your loved will most likely be taken care of well. This is not to say that you should try to catch the staff doing something wrong. In many cases, the healthcare staff not only does their job, but does it well. The key is to communicate to all of the staff and doctors that you can and will show up anytime. By being unmistakably clear in the very beginning, you send a message that you will tolerate nothing than the best possible care for your loved one. This is being an empowered caregiver. Until we live in an ideal world, this is how you make sure your loved one is taken care of as they should be by professionals.
Unfortunately, whether you practice the empowered caregiver philosophy or not, there is still a chance that your loved one will be a victim of neglect or even flat out abuse. No one deserves to be treated that way, especially at the hands of caregivers. If you know or believe that your loved one is suffering while a resident of a nursing home, hospital, or assisted living facility, please contact us today online or call us at (800) 674-9725. All consultations are completely free and confidential.