Handling Patient Visitors
Until you see the light in a patient’s eye, when their relatives come, how their face lights up, you just haven’t lived. The sum total of life is right there. The programmatic dynamic of parents raising children is reversed. The residents (parents) now received the care from visitors (children). It is a singular statement in every individual patient’s case what kind of care they get from family members. Just as people look the other way in a community when children are abused, a low-level nursing home gathers the neglected ones together. It takes a compassionate care nurse approach to make sure patients don’t feel neglected or overwhelmed.
Nurses in any pay range should report any examples of abuse to their nursing manager or as an anonymous complaint to the regional ombudsman. The County Health Facilities Director may also take an anonymous complaint alleging abuse. Nurses in acute care and skilled nursing should counseled to look out for signs and symptoms of abuse and should make an assessment in the chart accordingly. If patients should complain of missed medications, pain, unusual symptoms or worries concerning their care, the charge nurse should be notified.
The sliding scale of who and what family members come to visit is one nurses will become familiar with. Some visitors only show up once a year, on birthdays or anniversaries. Some people bring the whole family, and it can be overwhelming for a recovering patient or fragile resident. Sometimes visitors bring children or babies to encourage the older resident or family member to enjoy the family life absent in a skilled nursing facility or acute care hospital.
Nurses should make sure visitors should wash their hands before skin or physical contact with the patient, administer or deliver no medications or narcotics, and otherwise observe infection control best practices at all times in and around the patient‘s room and bathroom. Visitors and family, friends and relatives may not realize that resident of a skilled nursing facility or patients in acute care are extra vulnerable to viruses, colds, and other communicable diseases. Diabetic patients should be discouraged from overdoing it indulging on special “treats’ that can harm their health and change their blood sugar and cause a crisis.
Others come every weekend, and bring things or even help with the physical care and chores of a nursing home patient. usually, among nurses, this will reflect the status of a patient’s relationship to the visitor. Nurses should be vigilant if a patient shows a marked dejection after certain visitors come, or a tendency to depression after no visitors come. Such patients should be redirected to group activities or have the activities director contact relatives and suggest a family visit.
While financially the nurses know and differentiate between cash-pay residents and Medicaid or Medicare recipients, technically there should be no cognizance of the patient’s status when treating them or attending their bedside needs. health care should be available to everyone regardless of the ability to pay. By seeing the way the patients are treated, some nurses also differentiate between patients who receive visits and those who do not. This can be an unfair but persistent bias.
There is one simple rule for this: the family members and visitors of a nursing home patient will track neglect or have conversations with the patients where criticisms or reports might reach the ears of others. It is essential in some cases to keep frequent visitors’ parents (patients) well cared for, as the family member will appear at any time all day, or stay during significant parts of the day during one single shifts. That one family member will not see the effort the nurses put forth for the rest of the shift for the rest of the floor, but they can make enough noise t bother the managers and owners of the facility for months.
It is hard to watch a CNA or LVN favor a patient or set of patients whose relatives frequently visit, while the ones who need contact and pepping up most fall to the end of the range. One can watch a single nurse neglect a patient’s bed, person, or dignity outright, and hustle to the next room to cascade attention and caregiving on the least in need patient in the place. But this is what happens when nurse managers do not periodically refresh the training and motivation of nursing staff.
Any nursing home patient that has a visit from a relative or friend, social worker or investigator from the county health department, must have them sign in to the visitor’s register. there is usually a physician’s room or private area where an investigator can conduct I interviews or research charts. Additionally, medical records staff will make themselves available t assure any visitor they receive the most assistance possible.