Helping a Nursing Home Maintain Quality of Life

By Rich O'Boyle, Editor
More About Rich...

When your elder is admitted to a nursing home, you can make his/her stay there as comfortable as possible by working with the facility staff. One of the most important tasks you can help with is the annual care planning meeting. The resident’s care is based on an assessment by the facility’s staff – you can make that assessment as accurate as possible by participating in the session.

During the assessment process, the nursing home staff collects information about the individual. Staff includes the resident’s physician, the facility nurses and physical therapists, and the resident and family member. By preparing information about your elder’s life and abilities, you can greatly assist the assessment process and help the facility staff "get to know" your elder.

An assessment determines an individual’s: abilities in such areas as walking, talking, eating, dressing, bathing, seeing, hearing, understanding and remembering; assistance needs; and patterns and preferences in areas such as daily routines, habits, activities and relationships.

During the assessment, the staff will be looking to learn more about the resident, including: physical, social and spiritual strengths; daily customary routines; preferences; abilities; and feedback. When you attend the planning session, you should discuss care options and ask questions about alternative treatments or procedures.

Tell the staff basic facts about your elder:

  • Birthdate and place
  • Family size, including living siblings
  • Where he/she grew up
  • How much education he/she received
  • Marriage and date of marriage
  • Number of children
  • Employment history
  • Religious affiliation
  • Hobbies

Tell the staff what your elder’s personality is like:

  • Does he/she like to tell or listen to jokes
  • What makes him/her angry
  • What makes him/her happy
  • What makes him/her sad
  • What comforts him/her
  • Is he/she optimistic or pessimistic
  • What does he/she value most in life

Tell the staff a little about your elder’s life story:

  • Growing up
  • Major accomplishments or disappointments
  • Activities during World War II
  • Emigration

Tell the staff about your elder’s hobbies and affiliations:

  • Church, synagogue or mosque
  • Local associations or auxiliaries
  • Crafts and handiwork

Tell the staff about your elder’s daily routines:

  • When does he/she like to get up and go to bed
  • What are his/her favorite radio or TV programs
  • What does he/she like to eat meals and what does he/she prefer
  • When does he/she like to have snacks and what does he she prefer
  • Does he/she have any bowel or bladder problems
  • What are his/her favorite and least favorite foods
  • How does he/she liked to be groomed
  • Does he/she prefer to be alone at times


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