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Nursing Home Myth Buster

When the time comes that your loved one is no longer able to care for himself or herself, a decision about their future care needs to be taken. Some families are able to care for their loved one, but for health or financial reasons this is often not possible. A home care package may not be adequate to meet their needs, so you may need to make the decision to look for care in a nursing home. Many people are daunted by the thought of a nursing home, mainly due to the myths that surround nursing home care and the poor reputation some homes have gained over recent years, but the reality of care in a good nursing home is very different.

The First Myth

The idea that going into a nursing home means that the person is entering their final days is a common myth. Nursing homes are not hospitals, and people who live in them do not need hospital care – just extra support with the daily aspects of living and health care from professional carers and nurses who are on duty 24 hours a day. Far from marking the final days for many people, nursing homes often provide a short-term postoperative or convalescence service.

The Second Myth

Loss of independence is another common myth, and families may worry that their loved one will become dependent on the home?s staff. This is far from the case, as encouraging independence and choice is one of the key aspects of care in a good nursing home. In fact, people often become able to carry out more self-care tasks when they have appropriate support. The individual?s care plan will include information about what they can do and what they need help with so that they will be able to maintain the appropriate level of independence.

The Third Myth

This concerns the stories that have been published in the press about elder abuse in nursing homes. It is true that there have been cases of emotional, financial and physical abuse, but these are definitely not the norm, and taking care in the selection of a home and remaining involved with your loved one when they are in the home is the key to finding a good home.

Visit a number of possible homes before deciding which will offer your loved one the best care, and talk to the manager and staff. Visiting without an appointment can often give you a better idea of the day-to-day life of the home than an arranged visit. Look around to see the facilities available, and talk to the other residents about life in the home before making a decision.

Once your relative is in the home, keep in regular contact with them. Talk to staff and always be observant for changes in your loved one?s appearance that might indicate an injury or unexplained fall. Their emotional state is also very important, and if you have any concerns that they might be subject to abuse, do not hesitate to contact the authorities, who will investigate this.For most people, going into a nursing home is a positive step, and you can be confident they will receive the care they need and still maintain regular contact with family and friends.

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