May 14, 2013

National Nursing Home Week 2013 - Honoring “Team Care”

by Levin & Perconti

This week--May 12th through May 18th--represents the official “National Nursing Home Week.” With many participants, including the American Health Care Association (AHCA), the event is a yearly reminder of the needs of long-term care residents and the terrific work that so many valuable caregivers perform day in and day out. It is easy for those of us working on matters related to nursing home neglect and mistreatment to appear unconcerned with the great work that facilities are able to provide. But on the contrary, because we are so familiar with the many instances of poor care, we are better able to understand the value and service of great care, when it exists.

The theme of this year’s week-long event, according to the AHCA site on the event, is” “Team Care.” In summarizing the event, the site explains that the week is for the residents and dedicated staff who “pitch in for optimal outcomes.” This is a timely theme, as with the complex needs of many seniors, proper communication and shared commitments to positive outcomes for senior residents requires clear coordination between all members of the caregivers process. When too many nursing home employees are forced to go it alone or do not receive the support they need for owners and operators, harm results.

National Nursing Home Week Events
Facilities across the country are participating in the festivities--in big and small ways. The AHCA website, for example, include information that different homes have taken to build their own programs. Some of the events are designed to integrate the facility with the community. That includes inviting those into the who normally do not see it or bringing residents outside to mix with their neighbors.

This also includes ensuring friends and family members are involved as closely as possible with care. Our nursing home neglect lawyers know well that so many seniors who languish in terrible conditions are only brought out of the situation by the vigilance of friends and family members who do not let their suspicions be ignored. Proper “Team Care” goes well beyond paid employees of a home, as loved ones must maintain as close a relationship as possible with those in these long-term care settings so that problems (like bed sores) are caught early-on,before damage develops.

Other aspects of the “Team Care” that some homes are working on include:

* Developing relationships with local elementary schools, to offer seniors and students a chance to mingle, become pen pals, and otherwise learn from one another.

* Inviting community members--elected officials, businesses, non-profit groups--to come to the facility as a service project, performing a specific (i.e. repainting a room or building a garden).

Any facility that is still looking for last-minute participation should head over to the AHCA website to review the provided materials, which include sample press releases, activity lists, and more. Also, for community members, many local skilled nursing facilities may already have plans in place, and so it is worthwhile to contact a local facility and see if there is any way for you to participate as part of the Team Building theme of this year’s official event.

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