As you can probably guess, I spend a significant amount of time scouring the Internet looking for new ideas for my blog. So it saddens me greatly when the majority of articles I find about nursing homes focus on abuse, neglect, and lawsuits.
Yes, terrible things have happened in some nursing homes. This is absolutely not okay, and these situations need to be corrected.
What the general public often doesn’t realize, however, is that there are many, many excellent nursing homes out there. They employ compassionate, devoted staff who work hard to provide top-notch care for their residents.
That’s one of the reasons I started my blog—to counteract the negative attitude our society has toward nursing homes. I want my blog to be a place where we as volunteers can let everyone know about the good things happening in our nursing homes.
Here’s why I’m concerned about the negative image of nursing homes:
- This negativity may frighten people who need to come to a nursing home for care. It makes a challenging transition even more difficult.
- Family members exposed to negative stories will feel guilty when they’re unable to care for their loved one at home.
- It may deter good people from considering long-term care as a career.
- Negative stories about nursing homes may cause people who work in long-term care to feel discouraged about their work.
So, what can we as volunteers do to help improve the image of our nursing homes?
- Present a positive image when you’re volunteering at the nursing home. Your warmth and enthusiasm go a long way in helping people feel good about long-term care.
- Share good things about the nursing home on social media. Yes, we do need to be careful about protecting the privacy of our residents, but there’s a lot we can share and still remain within HIPPA guidelines.
- When considering who gets your vote during an election, consider candidates who support adequate funding for long-term care.
- If you have a gift for public speaking, offer to do presentations at community events and share your positive volunteer stories.
- Look for ways to improve the nursing home experience and share them with others. As a volunteer, you may come up with fresh ideas that never occurred to anyone else.
- When you hear someone speaking badly about long-term care, be careful not to get pulled into the negativity. Share the good things you’ve seen at your nursing home.
- Be on the lookout for people that you think would make great nursing home staff or volunteers and encourage them to apply.
- If you have a concern about anything you see when you’re volunteering, be sure to speak up. Use the proper channels and get the issue resolved as soon as possible.
- Do you have a knack for writing? Consider writing letters to the editor, guest blog posts, or magazine articles about your positive volunteer experiences.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “What you say I am is what I will become”? Perhaps this applies to nursing homes, too. We need to be cheerleaders for long-term care and help nursing homes provide the very best quality of life for our residents. After all, these are the places where you and I quite possibly will live someday.
Please help spread the word by sharing on social media!