Caregiver Tips: Caregivers and Long-Term Care in Charlotte, NC

Choose Your Battles Carefully

Some caregivers fly off the handle at nursing home, adult day care or assisted living facility staff. While some caregiver frustration with institutional long-term care and eldercare services may be justified occasionally, not every eldercare situation warrants reactionary caregiver outcomes.

As a former human resources manager and in my non-business life, I’ve seen and heard individuals and families complain about perceived, real, or, sometimes imagined eldercare experiences. Such complaints are filed formally with regulatory oversight agencies and/or internally to the nursing home’s administrator or corporate personnel. Occasionally, caregiver dissatisfaction is hurled at staff, volunteers, and/or publicly aired.

Caregivers and other family members rightfully have a vested interest in the health and long-term care outcomes of our loved ones. In contrast, something’s remiss when some families unload elders into the waiting hands of long-term care staff, never to be seen or heard from again. For caregivers and our elders, either extreme is unhealthy. More often than not, the eldercare reality lies somewhere in the middle.

“Why Hasn’t My Mother Gotten Her Medicines?”

One of my mother’s octogenarian contemporaries was admitted to a nursing home in spite of her objections, which is not unusual based on the onset or eventful progression of some chronic diseases in aging. Prior to the nursing home admission my mother’s friend had been in and out of a couple hospitals. She had multiple surgeries, hip fractures, and extended hospitalizations.

Her prognosis for being able to walk again was slim in spite of extensive rehabilitation and convalescence. Her post-surgical lack of mobility coupled with no provisions for in-home care required nursing home placement for her safety.  After a reasonable period of adjusting to her nursing home residence, Mom’s friend seemed to have adapted well, emotionally and psychologically.

Prior to her hospitalizations, at discharge, and, upon entering the nursing home, Mom’s friend remained mentally alert and vocal, albeit reasonably depressed about her fate.  She remained in touch with her daughter, surviving siblings, and a long-distance friend like me, sharing running commentary on her care, feelings of powerlessness, medical treatment, prognosis, and her new residential environment.

When she told her daughter that the nursing home had failed to administer one of her prescribed medications, her daughter promptly asked nursing staff why her mother had not been given all prescribed medicines. The nurse replied that the caregiver’s mother had been given all prescriptions, and, “…Oh, [by the way], your mother has dementia.”

Had it been my mother, I would not have been pleased with the facility’s (and/or last hospital’s) handling, timing and method of delivery of my relative’s major medical diagnosis. This eldercare scenario is one battle I would have chosen to take on had I been the caregiver.

When to do battle in eldercare is the question?

It all depends. What’s your take?

Isabel Fawcett, SPHR

Isabel has been a full-time, stay-at-home caregiver to her 85 year old mother for 2 years, and counting. She is a regular Contributor at ElderCareLink, a blogger and Twitterer. Isabel is an independent human resources consultant and former HR management professional with 20+ years of HR experience, including FMLA, workers’ compensation and the Americans With Disabilities Act. She is a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certified and last worked for the Office of the Governor in Texas before her most recent eldercare choice.  Isabel also has worked in healthcare as Assistant Director of Volunteers at Beth Israel Medical Center, New York City, and Manager of Staffing and Recruitment, Norwalk Hospital, Connecticut. She has also worked at Marriott International Headquarters in HR. Isabel is fully bilingual in English and Spanish and has been a patient care volunteer for the American Red Cross overseas.

Home care counselors at Affordable Home Care are available to talk with you about your home health care needs including how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable care. Affordable Home Care is a home care agency providing In-Home Care in Charlotte.