Nursing homes are notoriously socially isolating environments where residents typically do not interact much with others. Research has shown that social isolation is a major predictor of poor health and well-being in seniors. It is an issue that nursing home administrators seem to be increasingly aware of. To combat this problem, some nursing homes are implementing social activities programs to create more interpersonal interactions between residents and staff.
Shortage of employees
Since most nursing homes face employee shortages, nurses and caregivers do not often have the time to care for their patients properly. This can result in improper nutrition, medication errors, and a lack of necessary care. In some cases, this can even lead to a patient’s death. The nursing home industry must correct this issue by hiring more nurses and caregivers and providing them with the proper training and support to care for their patients.
Lack of friendships
The idea of having friends in a nursing home is often overlooked. For many residents, the isolation and lack of stimulation can be depressing. However, friendships between residents can alleviate these feelings, but many struggles to develop and maintain them.
“…researchers found that people who engage in more social activities live longer than those who are less socially active.”
A study published in the journal “Psychosomatic Medicine” found that hospitalized patients who had positive social interactions, such as talking to nurses and other staff, had shorter lengths of stay and were less likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of release.
In another study published in the journal “Personality and Social Psychology Review”, researchers found that people who engage in more social activities live longer than those who are less socially active. It appears that social interaction is not only beneficial for mental health but also physical health.
Struggling with diseases
As people grow older, they may face health issues like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression. Nursing home residents may also struggle with these conditions. These illnesses can make it difficult for residents to participate in activities or socialize with other residents. They may also have trouble completing tasks or remembering things.
Nurses and other caregivers should work to create a supportive environment for residents with these conditions. This includes providing appropriate activities for their abilities and helping them stay connected to their friends and family.
Covid-19 made it worse
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, feelings of isolation have become even more prominent. Being isolated from friends and family during this time has been difficult for many people. In addition, the fear of contracting the virus has caused many people to stay inside and avoid social contact. This has resulted in a sense of loneliness and isolation for many individuals.
Visit your loves ones frequently
It can be difficult to feel connected when a loved one is in a long-term care facility. The best way to help reduce the sense of isolation is to visit as often as possible. Visiting can provide emotional support, communication, and a sense of connection. It can also be a positive distraction for your loved one.
Keep up good communication with staff
Many families are hesitant to express their concerns to nurses because they fear they will be considered troublesome or critical. However, family input can often be extremely helpful in identifying issues that nurses may not be aware of. Expressing concerns also allows family members to build relationships with the nursing staff, which can benefit future problems or issues with the patient’s care.
Nursing home abuse
If you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected while living in a nursing home, it is important to take action. You can start by contacting a personal injury lawyer who can help you file a lawsuit against the nursing home. The IL nursing home attorneys will review the facts of your case and advise you on the best course of action. It is important to act quickly, as there may be a statute of limitations.
Abuse in nursing homes is a serious problem that frequently goes unreported. It can involve neglect as well as sexual, emotional, and physical abuse. Many times, family members of nursing home residents are the ones who notice the abuse and report it. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is common, with one in five residents experiencing some form of it.
If you suspect your loved one is being abused in a nursing home, talk to the staff at the nursing home. They may not be aware of the abuse and may be able to stop it. If the staff does not take your concerns seriously or the abuse continues, contact a personal injury attorney to help you and protect your loved one from further harm.