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We had to move our mother into a nursing home. She was not happy about it. But she needed around the clock care. Recently, a lady across the hall passed away. She was propped up in the bed, door open! The ONLY requirement the facility has to do is pull the curtain around if the family wants privacy. Mother has experienced this in the past with her own roommate but I didn't realize how bad it had affected her. And who wouldn't be affected? But she left her room..wondered the halls so the family could be with their loved one. Gave up her side of the room and chair because she felt they needed the privacy. Administrator found her a room to stay in a day or so later until her roommate passed away. Why? Why is it not the nursing homes responsibility to provide privacy for the resident and their family during the final days? What can be done to change this?

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I worked in a nursing homes, and at one time, was also a nursing home inspector (surveyor). Although there is no specific regulation about providing a room for the dying, the general subject is addressed under the regulations dealing with quality of life. It should go without saying that compassion dictates that the facility provide this type of care for the dying and for the family.

Failure to provide appropriate care at the end of life should be brought to the attention of the administrator and owners to prevent this from happening in the future.
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Reply to melitta
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When my MIL was dying in rehab, her roommate asked to be changed to another room. I don't think its a privacy law thing. I think it has to do with if a bed is available to transfer a person to.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Mom's NH also has a palliative "serenity room", but I've sometimes wondered what happens if more than one person is dying at the same time. Recently I observed a body being removed from a shared regular room, and the person had been missing from the dining room for several days so I don't think the death was totally unexpected. Unfortunately nobody talks openly about any of this, even though realistically more people die in a nursing home than in any dedicated hospice facility. I don't know how to go about changing this culture of death denial.
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Reply to cwillie
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When my mom was dying, my brother went to the admins of the NH and asked if her roommate could be moved. They said that roomie would need to agree. Brother went to roommate and asked if she could move for a couple of days and what was her favorite flavor of icecream.

Roommate moved for 48 hours and was wallowing in Cherry Vanilla.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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I admire your emphasis on the family's needing privacy to spend time with their dying loved one. You are remarkably considerate in the circumstances.

Because I have to say, reading your post, I am more aghast at the thought of an elderly resident of a nursing home being required to share her *bedroom* - her inner sanctum - with a person who is actively dying.

I mean. For Heaven's sake! It's sick, is what it is.

I think you are more likely to get somewhere, though, by applying pressure to the owners of the facility where your mother is living to make better provision for end of life care. This is partly because changes in social policy legislation tend to move slower than the mills of God, so that quite honestly we'll all be long gone by the time they get round to it... And partly because you want to be careful what you wish for.

I do, I admit, continue to be surprised at how few single rooms seem to be available in the States, and how common it is for people to share. But if legislation is used to make shared rooms effectively illegal - or at least so close to it that most providers ditch them altogether - there are unintended consequences, which might include established friendships being broken up, reduced choice for people who *are* naturally gregarious and don't want to be on their own, even fewer places for married couples, home providers going out of business, and of course escalating costs which mean that the whole funding circus is in more of a mess than ever.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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How sweet and thoughtful of your Mom to want to give them privacy.

I can understand your being upset about it, I would be too.

All I can think of is to talk to admin, and ask for a roommate equal, or as close to, your Mom's condition of health as possible. To be frank, not a roomie with one foot in the ground.

Then I'd bring this to the attention of the executive board. Since immediate admin are already aware of it.

Tough situation, good luck.
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Reply to Pepsee
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There is a nursing home near me that has recently installed a beautiful room for palliative care patients at the end of their lives. Family can come and go, room mates are not disturbed, nor witness the death.
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Reply to Tothill
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