Any nursing home tips for a new resident?

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My 91 year old mom just moved into a long term nursing facility. She enter short term rehab after a horrible reaction to Abilify. She has dementia and I worry about her care being left to others. What can I do to keep her safe and healthy?

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Wonderful nursing homes exist. Sadly, so much depends on where we live. However, if you have a gut feeling that the nursing home staff is good, keep your eyes open but show your trust and work with them. They are your frontline caregivers. Watch how they interact with each other and with the other residents. That means so much. The staff is far more important than the beauty of the home.

I'd love to seem more cottage type homes appear. This is the future (I hope). But meanwhile, we work with what we have in our communities.

I hope that everything goes well.
Carol
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Get to know the Head nurse on her floor. Make sure she knows you and knows you care. Forget meeting the Director, most of them are clueless. Know mom's aides by name, thank them when they do something right. A little appreciation goes a long long way.
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All above responses are spot on. Speaking kindly to staff, making yourself known, being appreciative, but -- keeping eyes open as well. I have found that staff will listen if family has a good approach. However, do not hesitate to bring concerns forward, either. If she gets cold, provide sweaters or a favorite blanket (have laundry put her name on them) and let her aides know "mom likes to be bundled!" It must be difficult to surrender her care to someone else. But if you are able to be a regular visitor and a good communicator, sometimes that's the best advocacy you can provide.
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While you are visiting with your Mom, keep your ears and eyes opened... if you see something that doesn't look right go to whomever is your Mom's regular nurse or Aide.

I found when my Mom was in long-term-care I kept any complaints to a very low minimum.... that way when I did need to talk to the head nurse, she knew it was something important.   Don't make it sound like a complaint, make it sound like you need advice.
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It's like sending your firstborn off to preschool, you have to step back and let her find her own way, trusting that those in charge have done it all before and can handle anything that might come up.
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All the above answers are great. Plus i dropped by daily, at different times . So no one really knew when i would come. No place is perfect, but kindness and respect goes along way to those that are caring for your mom.
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Soon my wife will be admitted to a long term memory facility and I want to thank all of you for your insight. My fear of her leaving my sight after 55 yrs of care as my faithful wife is terrifying me.
I treasure all of the advice you gave, thank you. JLW
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Violet521 makes a very critical point. Many facilities are understaffed (in my opinion) and the CNA's are running from person to person. I have witnessed this even in the poshest places. They get just enough staff to get by regulations and the CNA's are run ragged! I am a professional caregiver that works for an agency, so I have had the chance to witness these things first hand and talk to the CNA's. They are also greatly underpaid for the hard work they do. Unless you are an LVN, RN, you don't get paid well for all the "grunt work." My pay is also very low but I got into this field for different reasons. I wanted to be able to learn how to properly care for my Mom as a professional so I could keep her with me as long as possible. She had worked as an RN in those facilities her whole life and I cannot imagine turning around and putting her back in one! Unless she gets to the point where she has to be watched 24/7, I will keep her with me. I have also witnessed gross negligence in those facilities that made my blood boil! You have to spend enough time in there as an unknown observer to really get the true feel for a facility. Me being a hired caregiver is perfect as an undercover observer for facilities. If they know family is there, they will put on their best performance. I get sent to those facilities for the very fact that the families know their parent is not getting much "one on one" attention so now they are paying even more just to give extra individual care on top of the monthly expense of the facility! So very sad. I think facilities should hire a few people who just go around throughout the day spending time giving those people personal attention, not just what has to be done. It would make such a difference!
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I live in assisted living because of my spine - can't walk. I am lucky because I am l00% with it. As soon as I came here, within 24 hours I made it a point to go and meet every single member of management - talk a few minutes with them and sort of establish "a base" line. It worked and does work. Once they know someone knows them, you can be sure they won't mess with you. Naturally, if the patient has dementia, that could be a problem. Then the family members should do so at once. And when you come to visit, occasionally stop by their offices and say hello, let them know you are on top of everything going on. And, if there is a problem and it cannot be solved in an initial win/win type consultation, then put everything in writing. I have won 95% of my issues because of this and have received a great deal of respect from the staff and residents - it works great. Try it and you will agree. If more people would do this, there would be less problems. And when things are going well, go out of your way to express appreciation to the staff - do not just complain when things go wrong.
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Good luck. I agree with posters above. Get to know the staff and realize there's only so much anyone can do to deal with a dementia patient. Reality comes and goes. It's a good lesson for us though about the trivialities we sometimes get hung up on. My mom forgot mostly everything recent and remembers her youth and how she sang and danced and was "an actress ". It's interesting. However she does have downtimes and says shes bored- but how does one engage or entertain a person who can't really engage or focus ? We try to keep her moving- take walks if possible- roll about the place and sit people watch. It's tough. But you're doing what has to be done at this time. Looking out for her safety and health.
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