Families know best

Families know best when it comes to caring for their loved ones. McKnight’s reported that experts recommend using family members to alleviate unsafe staffing. Full findings can be found in the January edition of Health Affairs. The findings prove that facilities suffer from unsafe staffing and fail to provide the care required.

“If staff members were expected to absorb the care tasks that had previously been provided by family members, their workload could have increased dramatically,” Coe and Werner wrote. “Staff members might have also needed to provide help with teleconferencing with family, friends, or medical care providers during the pandemic, as the majority of residents needed assistance with traditional telephone use in non-pandemic times and informal caregivers often provided that help.”

The researchers found that families as informal caregivers improve professional caregiver’s job performance. Family members and other caregivers support residents with multiple activities.

Lawmakers emphasized the need to provide emotional support, as well as assistance with daily chores ranging from hygiene to hand-feeding. Some states increased “essential” caregivers’ access to nursing homes. Researchers found that 75% of nursing home residents needing help with mobility had those needs met by informal care providers. Self-care needs, including help with eating, bathing, using the toilet and dress, existed for 80% of nursing home residents.

Researchers suggest nursing homes should incorporate family caregivers into a resident’s care team. It is a wasted resource. Facilities should provide family members with formal training. Nursing homes should allow them to help.

“This invisible workforce provides considerable front-line work for residents. Policies and practices that incorporate informal caregivers into the care delivery system could benefit care recipients, caregivers and staff members in residential facilities and nursing homes.”

Families know what is best for their loved ones. Let them help!

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