​Mixed Media on Canvas by Carol J. Hay

Our mother’s voice, through her nonverbal behaviors, told us very clearly that she was not experiencing a decent quality of life when she was admitted to the nursing facility. These were our mother’s experiences, through her eyes, and certainly not the way the staff perceived these events. But Quality of Life is not measured through the eyes of others; it is measured through the individual resident’s perspective. In no uncertain terms our mother told us that – from her own perspective – the staff did not treat her with dignity when they were performing personal care; they did not consider her preferences when they engaged her in activities; they did not make an effort to keep her engaged in constructive use of time; and they responded to her efforts at communicating her dissatisfaction by physically holding her and moving her limbs, placing her in a wheelchair, and medicating her for “agitation.” From staff perspective, they were seeing that she was bathed and dressed; protecting her from falls; and calming her down when she got upset for no apparent reason. In all fairness to the hard-working staff, they certainly did not intend to infringe on her quality of life. They were just doing their jobs. They had never been taught any differently.

Now Our Mother’s Voice is spreading the word about what ought to happen.
Here is what the Code of Federal Regulations has to say about Quality of Life:

A nursing facility should be a place that actively promotes quality of life for its residents. This not only includes medical care and meeting physical needs; it also means that the nursing home should honor each individual’s personal preferences about activities, day-to-day schedules, personal space, how personal care is provided, and all the “little things” the rest of us take for granted every day. This remains true for all residents — even those who cannot participate in groups, are not physically active, or cannot make choices on their own. Family members are vitally important to making their loved one’s voice heard in these cases!

Individual preferences for activites should be honored.

Quality Of Life