Caregiving for Family Members in Nursing Homes

Posted by Dr. El - April 20, 2009 - Tips for gifts, visits - 12 Comments

I’ve read many blogs and websites out there for caregivers whose loved ones live at home, but I haven’t seen as much for those with family members in nursing homes.  While the role of caregiver may shift considerably once someone enters long term care, there is still much caregiving to be done.  What follows are some of the most helpful practices I’ve observed in families in my work as a psychologist in New York nursing homes.  

  • Visit regularly
  • Call regularly
  • Attend Care Plan meetings, where the nursing home team meets to discuss the resident’s care
  • Provide information about pre-nursing home health and behavior
  • Display family photos
  • Send cards, which can be posted in the room
  • Bring flowers, or preferably plants, and keep them watered
  • Plan off-campus outings, if possible
  • Make use of the nursing home patio or outdoor space
  • Learn and use the names of team members, especially aides, nurses, and social workers
  • Keep the closet filled with presentable clothing
  • Attend activities together
  • Work to resolve family conflicts so there is a clear “front man” and communication chain
  • Keep a calendar or log of visits, especially for those with dementia
  • Encourage and facilitate friendships with other residents