Tuesday, May 03, 2016

National Nursing Home Week!

National Nursing Home Week will be observed May 8-14 this year.  Each year, the week that begins with Mother’s Day is recognized as National Nursing Home Week.

This year’s theme, established by the American Health Care Association, is “It’s a Small World with a Big Heart.”  The theme celebrates the great diversity found among nursing home residents and staff.  Increasingly, nursing homes are becoming educated on the provision of culturally appropriate care.  A few years ago, I talked with an administrator from New York City who said, “I’m the Catholic administrator of a Jewish nursing home where I have Muslim employees providing care to Buddhist residents.” 

In another urban nursing home, there were several employees in housekeeping and laundry who were immigrants from the same country.  They wanted to become United States citizens.  Several residents were retired teachers.  They made a deal:  tutoring in exchange for lessons about their native culture.  These ladies gave sessions on their native food, dress, dance, art, music, holidays, etc.  It was a great experience that strengthened their relationships.  The residents celebrated with them when they became citizens.  Indeed, big hearts know no cultural, geographic, or religious boundaries.

Nursing home residents are increasingly using the internet.  They can keep up with family members who live at a distance, share with friends through social networking, and learn from educational sites.  Internet availability is shrinking the world of seniors. 

Residents are often honored for the contributions that they have made to their families, communities, and the world.  By listening to their stories, we can often discover extraordinary talents and influence that they have had. 

During this week, nursing homes around the country will celebrate in a variety of ways.  We recognize and honor both residents and employees.  Often, devoted long-term care workers put in long hours under challenging circumstances to assure that residents get the care they need and deserve.  Be sure to express your appreciation to long-term care staff, residents, and volunteers this week.  

Contributed by Phil DuBois, CNHA, FACHCA, SJC Program Manager, LTCA