According to the CDC (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention) as of 2014, there were over 15,000 active care homes in the US. This equates to 1.7 million licensed beds and 1.4 million seniors living in nursing homes. Of all the people living in these care homes, the statistics suggest that 89% of them are over 65 years of age, and require help with various tasks, from tasks like washing to more basic tasks like getting dressed and eating.
There comes a time in most people’s lives when it is impossible to take care of themselves anymore, which leads to them either relying on their relatives or spending the remainder of their lives in a care home. Each year, the needs of older people intensify due to the fact that we are living longer, meaning that our population is aging. This means that there is now more pressure on care homes than ever before to provide care for higher numbers of seniors.
Taking that into account, the question is: what steps should be taken to ensure that quality care is provided for all seniors in care homes?
More specialist training
When it comes to the people who are in care homes, often they are in these facilities because they have a medical condition that is impacting theirs’ and their family’s quality of life. The care that they need, which is normally constant, 24-hour care, cannot be provided at home, which is why so many people with specific health conditions require nursing home care. From dementia-related conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease to low mobility, there are various health conditions that lead to seniors ending up in care homes. The problem with this is that very few care homes are condition specific, which means that it can be hard for seniors with health problems to get the specialist care that they need. However, if teams of care home nurses were provided with specialist care for common health conditions like dementia, as well as for rare ones when a resident with a certain condition arrives at a facility, it could significantly improve the level of care that is able to be offered.
Increase in checks on facilities
Another simple step that can be taken to improve the quality provided by nursing homes could be to increase the number of checks on these facilities. The problem is that often the signs of nursing home neglect or other issues with care are not spotted, or are not spotted until it is too late because checks are not done often enough. To improve the level of care provided in nursing homes, increasing the number of checks that are done should be made a priority. As with a higher number of checks, the quality of care provided should increase. Spot checks that are not scheduled could also be something that is worth considering because if care facilities don’t know when checks will occur, they will have no choice but to improve the quality of care that they offer.
Open system of communication
A common problem in many care home environments is the fact that there is not always an open system of communication. Often, care providers focus more on the loved one’s of resident’s concerns, rather than worries or concerns that the resident themselves have.
Whereas this should not be the case, the residents’ feelings and concerns should be just as important as those of their loved ones. For care to improve, having an open system of communication is key, allowing residents, their relatives, and their care providers to communicate clearly and easily if and when problems occur. Unless a resident is suffering from a cognitive condition that has rendered them unable to make decisions for themselves, it is important that they are made a key part of their care.
Various studies have demonstrated that when there is additional support in place for care home workers, the quality of the care that they offer, increases. This is because when there is a support system in place for them, they have the help and guidance needed to deal with any situation that occurs, in the right way. By having specialist care teams available at any time, care facilities can ensure that their residents get the specific care that they need. This kind of extra support can take a lot of pressure off of care home providers, ensuring that they are able to offer the very highest levels of care possible. It may come at an additional cost, but with care homes costing high prices already, it seems strange that few of these facilities have extra support in place.
Person-centered care focuses on quality of life and ensuring that each resident gets a care plan that has been tailored perfectly to their needs. The factors that need to be taken into account when providing this kind of care include activities or residents, their social contacts, and staff knowledge. By offering person-centred care, care homes can ensure that their residents receive a type of care like no other – care that has been tailor-made for them. Taking advantage of this approach to care can reduce gaps in care, and can help to ensure that a generally higher quality of care is provided to all residents. It can also have a positive impact on staff to, reducing levels of stress and strain, and because of this, reducing the level of time off that team members need.
The fact is that there are care homes that provide exceedingly high levels of care for their residents. However, at the other end of the spectrum, there are also care providers whose levels of care are seriously lacking. The good news is that by taking note of the tips and advice above, care home providers can increase the quality of the care that they are offering, ensuring that their residents receive the very best care possible. When it comes to end of life care, quality if key – everyone deserves quality care.