3 important information you must obtain before bringing your elderly to a nursing home

These information can help to ensure elderly live in a safe, caring, and comfortable environment - both physically and mentally.

Elderly group exercise outdoor in the park by Jasper Lodge physiotherapists

3 years ago, a double-storey bungalow somewhere in Malaysia caught on fire, causing five deaths, of which four of them were residents of the nursing home.

On June 19, 2019, an elderly woman was abused by a caretaker at a nursing home in Seremban. The caretaker repeatedly taunt her and she tried to fight back but the caretaker continued to irritate her. Besides hitting her, there were also accusations that the staff starved them, forced them to drink urine and take excessive amounts of sleeping pills.

The rise of abuse cases and hazardous environment will surely cause various repercussions to elderly people, including physical bruises and wounds, as well as mental phobia towards caretakers or anyone looking after them.

In order to ensure elderly live in a safe, caring, and comfortable environment, physically and mentally, these 3 information should be acquired before bringing your elderly to a nursing home.

Information #1: Management Team Background

It is good to know the background of the company that runs a particular nursing home. A reliable company should be a marathon runner in the healthcare industry, with steady improvement of its branding and quality for at least a few years.

Besides the company's background, it is important to know who manages the ground team at the nursing home. These are people who may bring about direct influence to the quality of care catered to our elderly loved ones. There should be a team of medical personnel - which includes medical doctors, certified nurses, approved therapists, etc. - to oversee the ground staff and take care of the residents.

A well-established back-end team is crucial in supporting the front-line team. Professional nursing homes should have a finance department that is available to advise on any payment issues and clarify misunderstandings. Make sure there is valid company information on any written document to ensure the legitimacy of the document itself.

A Customer Service Representative should be included in this list as well. The Customer Service Rep is usually the person who communicates the most with the resident’s family members, especially during the enquiry process. A professional Customer Service Rep should be able to answer most of your questions with poise and patience. It is not an easy decision to place our loved ones into a new environment anyway, so speaking to someone helpful can make the task much easier.

Information #2: On-Ground Team & Facilities

During the day-to-day care catered to the residents in a nursing home, the people they interact with the most are the nurses and therapists. Family members can ensure that clinical staff are recognized locally in terms of qualification and certification. In Malaysia, nurses have to be certified by the Board of Nursing to ensure their nursing skills are up to par.

The character and attitude of the ground staff can also greatly affect the happiness of our elderly loved ones. When visiting a nursing home, family members can somehow observe this by looking at the facial expressions of the residents and their interaction with the staff. A happy environment can be felt immediately, and cheerlessness cannot be hidden in disguise.

Nursing homes are very different from old folk’s homes. Operations and procedures carried out in professional nursing homes can be far more complicated, which may include wound dressing, Ryle’s tube and urinary catheter changing, recording vital signs, and so on. During the case of an emergency, professional nursing homes would have a standard operating procedure - usually administer oxygen supply and first-aid while waiting for an ambulance to send the patient to a nearby hospitals for complete diagnosis and treatment.

Medical and physio equipment is another factor to be considered. Essential medical equipment such as oxygen concentrator, suction machine and nebulizer machine are important for the elderly. On the other hand, physio equipment like cycling pedal, hand pulley, and gym ball are some of the basics to keep the residents active and functioning.

Information #3: Safety Precautionary Measures

In recent years, safety measures in various business buildings are being enhanced due to the increased awareness. Nursing homes should be well-aware too, equipping themselves with adequate safety equipment.

Fire extinguishers, door access system, emergency exits and ramps are considered a must-have in every nursing home. Fire Safety and Building Regulations should be followed accordingly. It would be even better if the staff have been through a Fire Safety Training and obtain a certificate as they would be well-versed in the preventative measures, evacuation procedures and fire escape plan.

To increase the level of precaution, it is crucial to also install safety bars in toilets and walkways for residents with physical limitations. For nursing homes that are more than one storey, a chair lift is also necessary to transfer non-mobile residents.

In Conclusion

Learning about the 3 information above when visiting a nursing home would definitely offer peace of mind to family members, and ensure residents are safe and comfortable staying there. Bringing our loved ones to a nursing home is one of the hardest decisions to make, hence the decision should be made wisely, taking every important aspect into consideration.

Nursing homes like Jasper Lodge Care Centres that have been established for more than 9 years have been leading the elderly care industry in Malaysia. With its nationwide expansion, Jasper Lodge Care Centres are available at Petaling Jaya (Klang Valley), Johor Bahru, Penang, Kuantan, and Kuching. Operated by doctors, nurses, and various therapists, it provides both long term and day-care services, including weekends and holidays too!

Written by: Alvin Chong