How to help new residents adapt to nursing home life

The nursing home can be an overwhelming and scary place for new residents and their families. There are so many fears and stigmas associated with nursing homes—even after spending a couple of years reporting on the industry I occasionally become anxious at the thought of someday spending time in one myself.

And while facility staff may strive to allay new residents’ concerns upon admission, let’s face it, they are challenged with pressing demands on their time that compete with the important task of providing the critical reassurance and information residents require.

There's a great new resource that aims to meet this informational need for residents, families and providers alike. The Savvy Resident’s Guide, a book written by psychologist and Long-Term Living contributing writer Eleanor Feldman Barbera, covers just about every concern a resident might have, explaining how nursing homes work and how people can make the most of their stays. I encourage LTC providers to consider providing this book to residents and their families upon admission.

The large-print guide provides practical tools for handling a nursing home stay, covering everything from what to expect upon arrival, working with staff and making the most of one’s rehab experience, to socializing with other residents, lodging complaints, discharge planning and managing money and medications.

Barbera’s calm, pragmatic approach is sure to soothe residents and their loved ones as they navigate the uncertain world of skilled nursing and long-term care. Resident narrators help families understand what the resident worries about and staff will gain insight into the concerns of their residents that hopefully will enhance their person-centered approach to managing these concerns.

I wish this book had been in print when my own loved ones faced admission to nursing homes. I would have encouraged both them and my other family members to read and discuss the many scenarios a resident must deal with on a daily basis. I know it would have helped us during those stressful, uncertain times.

For more information, including ordering details for The Savvy Resident’s Guide, click here.

Topics: Clinical , Facility management