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Nursing Home

Apr 01, 2002 1507 Words
I am seeking to find a home for my 76 year old Grandfather Leroy. It is becoming increasingly difficult for him to take care of himself and no family members are available to take care of him as it is becoming a full time job. He was diagnosed with colon cancer a few years back and his disease, in conjunction with chemotherapy, has taken away his capacity to care for himself. He was also recently diagnosed with Parkinson¡¯s disease. The name of the Nursing home that I chose to evaluate is the Lakeview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center located in Lincoln Park, IL. My visit was on the 21st of November at 1:30 p.m. An employee of the home that offered any assistance that she could was Colleen Egen, R.N. (773) 348-4055.

This facility on the outside appears to be well maintained. It is composed of brick and is set in a good neighborhood. Upon entering the facility, the first thing I noticed was the pleasant odor that it had. I had been to nursing homes in the past and could recall how they stank mostly of urine and waste. This facility smelled fresh and clean. Cleanliness is a great attribute for a home that features 180 beds.

This home offers care to those with Parkinson¡¯s disease, recent stroke victims, as well as Respiratory, Hospice and Respite care. Not all of the residents of this home suffer from any of these diseases, or require special care, but care is available to these particular patients should it be applicable.

The first question that I asked Nurse Egan was what she thought was the best part about working for Lakeview. She told me that one of the better things about working here is that many of the residents of this home are from or have family living in the Lincoln Park Area. Living in such close proximity to loved ones in a nursing home promotes more frequent visitation from family members. She tells me that typically the happiest residents are the ones that have the most friends and family visiting them. Frequent interaction with loved ones as well as living in a positive environment like the one at Lakeview leads to satisfied residents. When she finished giving me her answer, I decided to put what she had to say to the test. So I decided to simply walk through the corridor and see if the residents seemed happy or not.

The first room that I passed by had two older gentlemen playing chess. I knocked on the door and identified myself as a curious college student that wanted to ask them a few questions. Kenneth and John eagerly invited me in and immediately offered me something to drink. They put their chess game on pause and gladly answered all of my questions. Most of my questions were related to their treatment here at the home as well as their degree of happiness with the home. Both of the gentlemen stated they had been in other homes and that this was the nicest home they had been in. Kenneth complained of his first home ¡°smelling more like a zoo than a nursing home.¡± John told me that his last home was on the South Side and that the neighborhood was filled with gang bangers and hoodlums. When his family visits here though, they wheel him through the Lincoln Park neighborhoods and it¡¯s nice. For all of the questions that I asked these two men, they had just as many questions for me. Heading in to this assignment, I hadn¡¯t really considered that someone would be asking ME questions. In the midst of all that happens in nursing homes, it¡¯s important to remember that these residents aren¡¯t just dependent, older people, but that they are still people just like you and I.

The two levels of care offered by the nursing home are intermediate and skilled. Admission requirements for the facility are based on an on-site-evaluation basis, as well as a look at the prospective resident¡¯s medical history and a physical. Exact cost figures were unavailable but the average cost per/day to live in this home is estimated to be approximately $164.00. Dr. Sandra Timmerman of MetLife Mature Market Institute reports that the average stay in a nursing home is 2.5 years. That¡¯s an estimated cost of $149.650.00 for two and a half years. This high cost helps to explain why only 5% of the residents of Lakeview Nursing Home pay privately for their care. 95% of residents here pay through Medicare.

Some of the positive aspects of this home are the friendly staff working here. I didn¡¯t receive one negative comment about the people working here. They seem to be dedicated to the cause of providing quality care. Some of the negative aspects of the home include poor quality of food. I received many negative comments about how the food is rather poor, and often the menu repeats itself. My grandfather is actually a rather picky eater so this issue may be of some importance.

With respect to the Resident Humanization dimension, specifically Structural Design, the home does an excellent job of using living things to humanize physical structures. In the recreational rooms as well in the individual rooms I found at least one plant growing. The patients that are able to care for these plants are responsible for ensuring the plants receive adequate water and sunlight.

General administrative policies including the promotion of personal responsibility and choice among residents are evident. All of the programs offered by the home for the residents are completely optional. Residents are encouraged to participate in social activities to help promote expansion of their social networks, but they are never forced to participate. Nurse Egan explained to me that while few residents engage in all of the social activities, the majority of residents participate in at least 50% of home sponsored programs.

Regarding the programming facet, there were two large bulletin boards celebrating both holidays and birthdays. There were decorations of turkeys and pilgrims on a few of the walls reminding the residents of the upcoming holiday. The holiday being promoted was Thanksgiving and with the holiday only a day away, I received some good feedback. Most of the residents were excited about the upcoming dinner where friends and family typically visit for a few hours. Resident Lois told me she had not seen her daughter and son-in-law in nearly three years and that they were flying in for the holiday and were having dinner with her. I noticed that she had the day circled with red marker on her calendar and she also had a gift prepared for the couple. My grandfather actually to this day still hangs holiday decorations in his apartment, so the fact that this home does the same is definitely a positive attribute.

In the Social Relationship realm, the home does a good job of encouraging children and extended family members to regularly visit the institution. Nurse Egan again explained to me that the home frequently sends out invitations to the families of residents that haven¡¯t seen their loved ones in some time. Additionally when family members do visit, they are frequently asked to pose for a picture with the residents so that the picture may be displayed on the bulletin board for all to see. Sometimes a biography of the residents family is posted so that others may get a chance to know the family members. My grandfather is a very proud person and would jump at the chance to have his picture taken with his family and displayed for all too see.

I have been to other nursing homes in the past and found them to be unsanitary and downright boring to be in. This nursing home is extremely clean and welcoming as far as nursing homes. While I don¡¯t think that someone would choose to live in a nursing home, if they had to, this home would prove sufficient. The impact of this assignment was greater that expected. I expected to walk into a stench-laden home with old people gathered around a television. Rather I found a clean home with older residents engaged in social situations with both the help and each other. While nobody wants to send my grandfather to a home, it is something that needs to be done. This home could adequately provide for his health care needs as well as expose him to a socially productive and enriching environment. I feel that most importantly the family must uphold their end of the bargain if they are to put a loved one in a home. They must frequently visit their resident and show them that they are missed and loved every bit as much as they were when they weren¡¯t in a home. My family will visit Grandpa as often as when he lived in his apartment.

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