Will l lose my independence if I move into a nursing home?

No. Nursing home care is designed to let you live independently and fulfil your potential. Before you move into the nursing home, staff will meet you to talk about your health and general needs. This meeting will focus on your abilities and your preferences. The staff will tell you if you need any aids or adaptations and assist you in obtaining such supports to help you stay independent.

Will l be able to choose what I do day-to-day?

Yes. When you first meet the nursing home staff, they’ll prepare your ‘care plan’. This will include things such as what foods you like or don’t like, and what time you want to get up or go to bed. Your preferences will be written down so that all the staff will know your likes and dislikes. Staff will review your care plan with you every three to six months or more often if you want or if your needs change. It’s important to know that, in the nursing home, you have the right to choose what you want or don’t want.

Will l be able to see my family and friends?

Of course. Visitors are welcome. All nursing homes have comfortable visitor rooms where you can meet with family and friends, often in private. In addition, nursing homes can arrange other ways of keeping in touch such as telephone, email, Skype and Facebook.

What kind of facilities can I expect in a nursing home?

Nursing homes generally have separate rooms for activities, visitors and watching television. Many have rooms for reflection and gardens where you can relax. You can even help in the garden, if you want. Some homes have education centres, gyms, spa areas and shops.

Will I be able to go on holiday or stay overnight with family and friends?

Yes. The nursing home will arrange this, wherever possible, and will help you to prepare. All you have to do is ask.

I don’t really like bingo. Are there any other activities in nursing homes?

Absolutely. Nursing home staff try to make the home a happy, lively place to be. Residents, family and staff choose the activities. These may include gardening, cooking, music, shopping, exercise or any other activity that you and your friends enjoy. Many nursing homes employ people to organise activities to match residents’ needs, abilities and interests. As far as possible, staff will make sure that you continue to enjoy the pastimes you love. Nursing homes also give you the chance to try new leisure activities and learn new skills. Many take part in exchange programmes with local schools, where students visit the nursing home to help residents learn new skills such as how to use the internet and email, or try out new arts and crafts. Nursing homes are also very pro active in engaging with their local communities to bring local people and residents together for social outings.

Is the food in nursing homes bland and tasteless?

No. Nursing homes employ chefs and catering teams to prepare meals to the highest standards. They change menus regularly to give greater variety – guided by what residents ask for. Some nursing homes have their own restaurants and can arrange for you to talk with a dietician about your dietary and nutritional needs.

Will I have to leave all my belongings behind when I go to live in a nursing home?

No. You can bring treasured possessions such as photos, paintings, ornaments and, in some cases, furniture with you. The staff want you to have your personal belongings around you because they understand how precious these are to you.

Will anyone listen to me if I have a complaint?

Definitely. Your views and opinions are very important to the nursing home. Managers need to know what you are not happy with so that they can improve the care you get. Each nursing home also has a formal policy on complaints management because, under Irish law, you have the right to make a complaint and to have it dealt with. The nursing home will tell you about its complaints policy.

Will I have any say in the running of the nursing home?

Yes. Most nursing homes have residents’ and relatives’ councils and and many have volunteer advocates who will help residents express their wishes, access their entitlements and assert their rights. The councils meet to talk about issues that affect residents’ daily lives in the nursing home. Their suggestions and comments are given to management to improve services.

Is a nursing home a good place to spend the final years of my life?

Yes. Nursing homes respect your rights and dignity. They will write down your wishes about how they can help you cope with your final days. For example, this might include where, ideally, you want to die, who you want with you when you pass away, and your spiritual or religious wishes. Nursing homes provide accommodation for the family of a resident who is dying and given comfort, support and food. They are very conscious of people’s religious and spiritual beliefs and will always try to take these into account. Nursing home staff will support your family and friends in their grief and will give you the option to be ‘waked’ in the home. Nursing homes also have close working relationships with local hospices and palliative care teams. When needed, they will bring in these services to give specialist care and comfort.

I’ve heard some bad reports about nursing homes and am worried about my care if I decide go into a nursing home.

Homes are designed to be comfortable and relaxed places to live. They provide specially-trained staff, a wide range of activities and opportunities to meet new people and to make friends. Nursing homes are ‘homes’ to about 20,000 people in Ireland. This kind of information doesn’t make the news. If you were concerned about your treatment or the treatment of a loved one, you can contact the Health Information and Quality Authority or HIQA for short. HIQA makes sure that nursing homes provide high standards of care and safety to the people who live in them. HIQA is an independent authority. That means it works to achieve your best interests. It regularly inspects homes. It talks with residents about how they find living there. If HIQA found that standards were not being met they would take the necessary steps to improve them.


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