Take time to adjust to your new caregiver role

Although the new resident is your family member, he/she most probably spends most of her time interacting with staff and other residents. You are a resource not only to your loved one but to the staff as well. Unlike you, they don’t see her within a lifetime of memories. Sometimes, residents will act livelier than usual around family members or more depressed. It is important to be part of the team and learn how she appears to non-family members. Both you and the staff have an opportunity to learn from each other.

The following items are presented for your consideration:

  • Are there Care Plan meetings? If so, when are they and are you allowed to attend? Depending on the level of care, such plans are developed and cover specified periods of time. Each meeting evaluates prior plans and establishes a new one. They include both nursing and social services.
  • Visit at different times of day and on varying days of the week. Not only do you meet more staff and gain insights into the facility at various times, but the staff possibly will be “on its toes” at all times, if it knows you could arrive unexpectedly.
  • If your family member has a Living Will, make sure that the staff and the doctor agree with you and your family member about what constitutes “No Heroics”.
  • Give your loved one the opportunity to make as many decisions for herself as possible. A sense of control over one’s life improves the quality of life. Similarly, do not talk about your family member in her presence in front of others. Give her the chance to speak for herself.
  • Be aware of Fire Safety procedures, i.e. what to do in case of fire or fire drill.
  • Relate to other families/residents with integrity. Confidentiality is a way of showing respect for the privacy of others. If you want to share a story about someone at the facility, then disguise any identifying information.

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