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Don’t Be Fooled, Part 2: Be Unpredictable
The staff members working at your loved one’s nursing home usually know when relatives are going to visit. They tend to follow certain patterns, such as arriving the same day and time each week, as well as visiting on holidays and birthdays. As a result, the facility can easily hide any abuse that may be occurring. You will have a better chance of spotting any trouble signs if you “mix things up” by being unpredictable with your visits.
The Benefits of Frequent Visits
Let’s face it – we’re all busy. It can be extremely difficult to carve out the time needed each week to visit a loved one in a nursing facility. But the more you visit, the better it will be for the resident. Not only will it lift his or her spirits, it will also send a message to the staff members that you mean business when it comes to keeping your loved one as safe and healthy as possible.
The last thing an abusive staff member wants to see is someone dropping in unexpectedly, so change up your visiting pattern if possible. Instead of showing up Saturday at 11 a.m., for example, drop in Thursday at 3 p.m. every once in a while.
By visiting as often as you can, you will provide the critical emotional support that your elderly loved one needs. Also, staff members will often pay special attention to residents when family members visit frequently.
Building Relationships with Staff Members
You should also take the time to meet with the staff members who interact with your loved one most often. This includes nurses, facility administration personnel, physical therapists and anyone else you can think of. Making a connection can make it easier for you to get questions answered concerning the resident’s care and can also help staff members as well. If they know your loved one’s likes and dislikes, and know any special medical needs he or she might have, that can only improve the care they will provide.
At the same time, however, you always need to remember that your first priority is your loved one. There is a chance you will build close friendships with some of the staff members of the facility, but that can never make you hesitant to hold them accountable for the resident’s health if you see a problem. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions, no matter how uncomfortable they may be.