“Quality of life is medically necessary.” Skilled Nursing News had a conversation with Melody Taylor Stark. They discussed how nursing homes can increase quality as well as quantity of life. Stark believes that any changes need to place the residents’ autonomy and dignity at their center. “Mental wellness is huge. That’s just a foreign concept at skilled nursing facilities.”
“Those discussions have now jumped into the mainstream, as policymakers, industry leaders, health officials, and resident advocates alike call for significant structural change after COVID-19 exposed a variety of simmering structural problems in long-term care.”
One suggestion was for caregivers to live in a nursing home bed like a resident for the first two weeks of their employment. “They need to go through what their clients are going to be going through, and experience it.” This will help caregivers empathize with the residents.
Another suggestion is to have plenty of diverse activities. Activities should include technological assistance. Keeping in touch through social media is the future of long-term care. Social isolation increases anxiety, depression, and noncompliance.
“Activities that are more than bingo. When Bill would get a new roommate, they’d come in and [say], “Oh, we offer this and this and this and this,” without asking the person: What are some things you like to do? Because of the cultural mindset, people are not always likely to say: “I really enjoy playing golf,” for example. They’re not going to say that.”
A liaison or consumer relations person is needed. “I think [having] a concierge on staff, or a liaison. In recent days, there’s been no communication from the facility unless there was a problem.” Listening and communication seem to be the key to meet expectations.
“I think mental wellness is huge. The essential family caregiver, tech support, being mindful of the individual — I think if I could change it that each person could have their own room, and that the rooms could be much less clinical and institutional than they are”