Myths vs. Realities of Nursing Homes
Families placing their loved one in a nursing home often have many fears based on the myths they have heard about such facilities. There are many misconceptions about nursing homes that often make them seem like cold, isolated places. However, busting these myths and learning the reality behind them can help show that nursing homes should be places of caring and support.
- Nursing homes are really just homey hospitals
The fact that many nursing home residents end up in a facility after spending time in a hospital is likely what perpetuates this myth. Nursing homes are not hospitals, but they are a place where residents can receive the care necessary for a good quality of life.
Health care professionals may offer medical, rehabilitative, and nursing services as well as administer medications. But ultimately, a nursing home is a facility where residents can thrive, with the aid of a qualified and caring staff, when they are unable to care for themselves.
- Nursing home staff can administer and prescribe medications
Usually, if medication needs to be administered, a healthcare professional will do so. For this reason, and to ensure the overall safety of residents, everyone at a nursing home facility should have regular access to a registered nurse. While the nurse may be able to administer medications, only prescriptions prescribed by a physician should be given to a resident. The use of any medication should be carefully monitored, and the resident and their loved ones should be able to speak freely if they experience negative side effects or wish to try other treatment options.
- The staff will make all the decisions
One of the things that can be frightening about a nursing home both for the potential resident and their loved ones, is that they feel they will be giving up control. They may believe that the staff of the nursing home will make all the decisions and that they will have no say over their life. This, however, is not true.
Nursing home residents have a legal right to make decisions regarding their activities, schedules, health care, and other aspects of their daily life. Loved ones are also encouraged to discuss a resident’s needs with the staff and ensure that they are receiving any specialized care they need. A resident can also assign a family member to make decisions for them.
- Residents do not have any privacy
Nursing home staff must balance providing adequate safety, security, and supervision for their residents while also upholding the rights of all patients to be granted privacy. While common areas such as dining halls and lounge areas would be considered public and likely supervised a bit more, residents should also have a respectable level of privacy.
- Residents can never leave
Perhaps the biggest misconception of nursing homes is that residents can never leave once they move in. However, this is definitely untrue. Nursing homes are not always meant to be permanent residences. In many cases, they are a place of rehabilitation where patients can receive care before eventually returning home or to an assisted living facility. While some residents may intend to remain at the nursing home, elders and their loved ones can speak with the staff beforehand to discuss what the best options are for admittance, and how long the resident wishes to remain there.
In addition, residents can come and go once they move in. While there may be guidelines to follow such as signing a resident in and out, residents can usually determine if they want to leave the facility for any reason. In addition, nursing homes often arrange bus trips and carpooling options for things like mall visits, doctor’s appointments, and other services residents may need outside of what the facility can offer.
Separate Reality from Myth with Careful Nursing Home Research
Unfortunately, these are just a few of the myths that surround nursing homes, and those myths can make anyone thinking about living or placing a loved one in one unreasonably concerned. Families and patients should speak to nursing home staff about any fears or concerns they may have. After doing so, they should discover that most of the myths out there are just that, with little truth behind them.