Mixed Media on Canvas by Carol J. Hay
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!
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.
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:
Our Mothers Voice
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STATEMENT OF PURPOSE AND DISCLAIMER:
The contents of the information shared at this site are largely based upon the Code of Federal Regulations 42CFR483 Subpart B, Centers forMedicare & Medicaid Services, Requirements for Long-Term Care Facilities, standards for nursing homes. Although not every Nursing Facility accepts Medicare or Medicaid residents, the standard of care represented in the discussion here should be the standard families look for when choosing a facility for their loved one. Our Mother’s Voice reminds the family to remain vigilant to ensure that those rights and quality of care and services remain in place, for those whose voice has been silenced by age, incapacity, or dementia. Our Mother’s Voice does not advise, but informs, so that families can then make decisions of their own. If you require advice, we recommend that you seek the appropriate advisory professional. Our Mother's Voice is a trademark owned by the founders of the organization. All rights reserved. All artwork taken from original paintings by Carol J Hay, our mother, copyrighted; used with permission.