In 1987, the federal Nursing Home Reform Law (OBRA 87) set forth certain standards of care for nursing homes receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding.
Under the regulations two of the standards are listed as:
- Promote each resident’s quality of life. (42 CFR §483.15)
- Maintain dignity and respect of each resident. (42 CFR §483.15)
These standards are listed first in the regulations and are some of the areas that we struggle with every day in the nursing home. As our culture changes, so should the way we meet these regulations. Part of our struggle is the fact that each of us defines “quality of life” differently. Each of us has different definitions of respect.
We often have a gap between the caretakers and the residents of our nursing home based on age, culture and knowledge base. Our goal in our nursing homes is again, to promote each resident’s quality of life and maintain dignity and respect for each resident. This sounds like a simple goal, but is often lost in our daily struggle to get “things done.”
We make mistakes, often when we start new programs. Does this mean we have to scrap that program? No, especially if we are implementing a program that has been shown through research to enhance “the quality of life” for many residents. We have to go back and look again at some of our basic elements.
- Who are our residents?
- Who are our staff?
- Do we have staff buy-in to our programs?
- Do we have staff?
- Does everyone understand the program?
- Have we really done the proper training/education?
As more and more “memory units’ are opening in our nursing home, it is very important that we continue to try to meet the needs of our residents. As more research is done and different programs are shown to enhance the quality of life of our residents, we need to continue to try.
Many of our homes working for change in our nursing homes continue to do just that, try again and again. Look at where we can change. Maybe more community involvement. Maybe more education. Obtain grants for new programs. Work with a national program.
We like to help our homes with change and promoting “quality of life,” so take a look at our upcoming event.