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Visitng Residents of Birchwood Manor

Visiting Residents At Birchwood Manor

Your visit makes a significant difference in the life of a resident. Look beyond the physical appearance of the residents. Think of them as individuals with the same hopes and fears as you. Most nursing home residents have pictures of themselves when they were younger or in better health.  Imagine all of the experiences they've had over their lifetimes.  Look at the pictures and mementos brought from home to decorate their rooms. Each person is individual and unique.
Arriving and Meeting with Residents:
·         Introduce yourself each time you visit; names are easy to forget.
·         Leave a note, business card, or something that states you visited. Residents are sometimes forgetful and family members will be pleased to know that their loved one had some company.
·         Accept rejection; you may want to re-approach a resident after a few minutes.
·         Sit for best visual and hearing potential. Talk louder only when necessary for communication. Hearing is the one of the last senses to leave a resident, so do not discuss a resident in front of them and assume they cannot hear you……..Talk to them.
·         Be patient. Give residents the time they need to express themselves.
Having Conversations With Residents: 
Many residents need encouragement to talk. You can be prepared with information about current events, ask questions, or share stories about yourself to give the conversation a boost.
Listen attentively as they talk. It can take time for them to gather their thoughts and form sentences.  Do not dominate the conversation or talk “at” them. Even if you have heard the story before, being a good listener allows them to enjoy their memories or current thoughts by sharing them with you.
Speak to all residents as adults, not as children. The use of the term “we” instead of “you,” for example, robs a person of his or her identity. “How are we this morning?,” is patronizing to many listeners. Treating residents like children, even if they are ill, frail or cognitively impaired, only contributes to low self-esteem and increased dependence.
Share news about your life and your family . Do not spend the entire visit asking them questions about how they feel or if they have eaten. Instead, share funny stories or talk about a big decision you have made. Make sure to tell your loved one about trivial events, too. Even little details can be important and make residents feel included.
Validate a resident’s feelings.If a resident says that his or her mother was in to visit, don’t disagree, even if that person’s mom couldn’t have visited because she has been dead for 20 years. Just reaffirm the resident in the timeframe that he or she is in and say something like “That was nice. I hope you enjoyed your visit.”
Visiting With Residents Who Don’t Seem To Respond: Remember that even if someone is confused or comatose, there is a chance of reaching him by touch and presence. Connect to these people by holding their hands or looking into their eyes. Even people with end-stage Alzheimer's respond to kindness and affection.
Reassuring a Resident By Touch
Greetings usually involve some form of physical contact. You shake hands, touch a shoulder or hug – depending on what you are comfortable with. Nursing home residents are removed from family and friends who provide this sense of touch. Think a moment about what the quality of your life would be if no one ever touched you except to bathe or toilet you. Touching tells us that we are accepted, human and desirable. When greeting a resident, make some form of physical contact unless it is absolutely inappropriate.
Visiting A Resident Outside of A Scheduled Event Or Volunteer Group
Call in advance to see when it would be convenient for you to visit. Show the same respect you would if you were visiting someone in her home. Make sure your visit doesn't interfere with planned activities, such as bathing, exercise or meals. You want to have a relaxed visit. Plan to do the same things with the person you are visiting that you would do if you visited in her home. You may enjoy watching television together, playing cards or just sitting and talking. Don't feel like you have to force an unnatural situation just because you're visiting in a nursing home.
Get to know the caregivers and introduce yourself to other residents. Find out when events are scheduled and participate if possible. When you get to know some of the residents, you'll feel more comfortable. Most disabled and elderly people enjoy being around children, and this gives children a chance to realize that the disabled and elderly are regular people who have interesting things to tell about their lives.
Remember that the care facility is their home. You should respect their privacy and living space as much as possible. When you're entering a room, even if the door is open, knock first.  When sitting in their room, ask before sitting on their bed or moving personal items.
Residents nearing death or not responding can benefit greatly from the presence of visitors. No one knows exactly what senses remain in a comatose person; however, we do know that hearing is the last sense to disappear. You may sit by the bedside and hold the resident's hand, stroke the forehead, or whatever is comfortable for you. You may talk quietly as if in a conversation. If a resident is dying, visits are needed more than ever. No one wants to die alone. If you are uncomfortable visiting a dying resident, ask the charge nurse, director of nursing, or social worker if you can discuss the matter. They will either help you or find someone who can.
Bringing Children to Visit
Talk to younger children about the visit before you go. Explain to them that they may see elderly people in wheelchairs and with walkers  or even younger people who seem “ill” and prepare them for the fact that some may not respond to them. Help them to appreciate the gifts they have in their health, even when they are young. Be prepared to answer their questions about catheters, different odors and confused or comatose people. Read some books with your children to help them understand about the elderly and nursing homes. A few of these are "Sunshine Home" by Eve Bunting, "Remember That" by Leslea Newman and "Old People, Frogs and Albert" by Nancy Hope Wilson.
After a first visit to a nursing home, talk about what happened and how children felt. Do you think you made a difference in the lives of the residents? Why? What did you learn about older people? Do you think visiting the residents is important? Why?
Thank you so much for sharing your time and helping us to fulfill our Mission.

It Is Our Mission To Positively Influence Each Life We Touch.

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