Is Your Elder Getting Good Care in that Nursing Home?

When a parent needs nursing home care, overseeing that care usually falls on whichever child happens to live in the same area. This article is for that “responsible” child who just happens to live here.

The first question one must ask is whether any patient can receive quality care in a nursing home. We’ve all heard the horror stories about the warehousing of nursing home patients, who are just waiting to die.

Although nursing home care is often less than adequate, It is possible for nursing home patients to receive quality care. However, in order to receive that level of care, patients must have a knowledgeable advocate.

Nursing Home Advocacy 101

Nursing home advocacy doesn’t require a degree in nursing or medicine, just time, tenacity, and a little information.

Communication is the First Lesson

One of the major problems in the nursing home is lack of communication between and among families, nursing staff, and physicians.
So how do you, as the patient’s advocate open channels of communication?

Become Aware of the Patient’s Needs

Become aware of your loved one’s needs. Are they bed bound? Can they feed themselves? Are they taking a new medication?

Communication Just Doesn’t Happen by Itself

Nursing Home CareVery few families understand that they have to become involved in facilitating communication within the nursing home.

Families are led to believe that the nursing staff will provide the physician with all the information about the patients. Families are also led to believe that the nursing staff will provide all the nursing care the patient requires. Unfortunately, both of these assumptions are not correct.

Nurses and nurses’ aides are short staffed in nursing homes and are unable to provide all the necessary care the patients require. Physicians, who are responsible for the care of patients at nursing homes, rely too heavily on the nursing staff to follow physician orders or to perform adequate nursing care.

Meet with the Patient’s Nursing Home Physician

Discuss your loved one’s needs, in person, with the nursing home’s primary care physician. Find out when the physician plans to be at the facility for his regular visits with the patients, and meet him there.

Patient advocates must take steps to encourage physicians to personally take a close look at their loved one’s condition and ensure that the nursing staff is functioning as intended.

So, when meeting with physicians at the nursing home, ask them to check the condition of the patient. For example, if the patient appears to be losing weight, ask the physician to weigh the patient. If the patient has in fact lost weight, ask the physician to meet with you, the dietitian, and the nursing staff to discuss how to encourage weight gain.

The advocate may become a “pest”, but the physician won’t be able to say that he had no idea that his orders weren’t being followed or that he was unaware that the patient’s condition has changed.

Nursing HomeIt is the primary physician’s responsibility to know the care your loved one is receiving at the nursing home. If the patient is losing weight, the physician should determine why the patient is losing weight. The physician must ensure that his patient is eating his meals and if not, the reason why not. The physician must then take action to ensure adequate nutrition.

If the patient is bed bound, the physician needs to examine the patient’s skin in order to determine whether his patient is developing pressure ulcers (bed sores). And, if the patient has pressure ulcers, the physician must ensure that his patient is being turned and repositioned regularly and is also receiving adequate nutrition.

The advocate must be the vehicle by which the physician is encouraged to completely check the patient’s status, during each visit, and not merely rely on what he is being told or not being told by the nursing staff.

Make Regular Visits to the Nursing Home

When you visit your loved one in the nursing home, visit during the morning, lunch, and evening meals which are the busiest times of the day. This will give you the opportunity to determine whether the nursing staff is able to attend to patient needs during stressful situations.

During your visits, check the following and report any changes you observe to the nursing staff and the patient’s physician:

  1. Patient’s weight.
  2. The percentage of breakfast, lunch and dinner the patient has eaten.
  3. The patient’s skin condition (twice a week) for signs of red, blistered, or broken skin on hips, buttocks, shoulders, or any place that comes into contact with the mattress or wheel chair cushion.
  4. The patient’s medication record documenting medications that were supposed to be given.
  5. Look for any change in the patient’s condition including eating patterns, sleep patterns, falls, bowel movements, agitation, etc.

Meet the Director of Nursing

Long Term CareThe Director of Nursing (DON) is the highest level of nurse management in the nursing home. Introduce yourself to the DON and explain what you know about your loved one’s needs, likes, and dislikes. The DON is responsible for making sure there are enough nursing staff at the facility and is the “go to” person when nursing care isn’t up to par.

If, as a result of your observations, the patient is not receiving adequate care, speak with the DON and the patient’s physician.
If matters don’t improve, speak with the Administrator, who is the general manager of the nursing home.

If there still is no improvement, consider moving the resident to another facility. If matters are such that you decide to move the patient, you should inform the Department of Health Services (ADHS) which is the regulatory agency responsible for overseeing nursing homes.

The patient advocate is the additional oil that keeps the nursing home engine running well. When the oil is low and the engine spurts, the advocate is there to move things along.

It is unfortunate that nursing home patients need an outside observer and facilitator to get the care that Medicare and Long Term Care have paid for, and that patients are entitled to receive.

 

California CNA Jobs: Facts and Details

With the increasing number of the elderly population and the increasing demand of health care facilities, the medical field is an ever-promising field. Even during recession, the health field doesn’t go through much damage. In this context, CNA is surely one of the most talked- about professions today. Because of its easy and short courses, CNA has taken quite a huge area of the career scope. A CNA is an assistant to the nurses who provides medical as well as personal care to patients. They have to be with patients all the time so that they can report any development in them. Especially in the US, scarcity of nurses is often reported. So, the job availability of a CNA is extremely high in every state including California. CNA jobs San Diego has a better scope as it is one of the biggest cities in California as well as America.

How to get a CNA job?

CNA Job SearchTo get a CNA job, initially you will need a CNA degree. CNA courses are short and not too expensive, and also they are available everywhere. Regarding the duration of the course, the federal government has a criterion of 75 hours while California state government has a criterion of 150 hours. You can enroll in any of these, but make sure it is state approved. The plus point with these courses is that a majority of them are usually free, but that is only if you agree to work for them as soon as your course is completed. The course will train you with the theoretical as well as practical skills to prepare you for a CNA job. Once you complete your course, you will have to take the certification exams. Only after you pass this exam, you will able to work as a CNA. You will also have to go through a background check. Then, starts you job search.

By any ways, if you had not talked about job aspects in your college while studying the CNA course, you should now inquire if they have any vacant posts available. If not job at the same place, this inquiry may at least help you to get a list of the available jobs in San Diego. A good society circle is also very helpful. Once you decide getting into the nursing field, you ought to make connections with various nurses. This will largely help you with your job search. Nurses are informed about the vacancies, and they may refer you for those posts.

In the internet world, what better option than the internet itself! Go online and search for jobs. You will surely land up on a huge list of jobs. You can also take the help of nursing magazines. However, CNA jobs are not much advertised. Hence, it would be helpful to visit hospitals and nursing homes personally with a resume. They may have vacant positions. If not, they may at least keep you resume and inform you once there is a vacant post.

CNA jobs are available in full time as well as part time forms.

CNA Job ListingsThence, you can choose your work-time according to your comfort. The job opportunities are expected to increase about 21% by the next decade. Hence, scarcity of CNA jobs is very unlikely. In fact, every year the number of nurses are reported to be lesser than the amount needed.

The paying for a CNA is also good with about $ 20,000 to $ 35,000 a year. The salary increases with the expertise one has, and also with experience. It also depends on where one chooses to work. Private nursing homes pay more than the public ones. If you are hired as a personal nurse, you will be able to earn much more than the average. But you will not get your expected salary as soon as you pass out. Only after you gain a little experience, you will be entitled to the expected average salary. But more than money-minded, this job is rewarding for the ones that have a desire to help others. Because of this pleasure, CNAs claim that this is the best job they can ever think of. Although there are a large number of posts available, the competition is always stiff. Therefore, don’t forget to give in a little more extra effort.