By: Denise Karas, CSA

Senior Monitoring Win/Win

The decision to move yourself or a senior loved one in a care facility is often a difficult and stressful process.  The tendency is to breathe a sigh of relief after the placement is made and assume all is well.  In order to make sure the move and placement are successful, and the care is top quality, ongoing and intelligent monitoring is essential.

Independent Care Monitoring services can be helpful for both the family and the senior.  With family members juggling full time jobs and raising their own family it is often difficult to stay informed and visit senior loved ones in person.  A senior resident is likely to feel dependent both physically and emotionally in their new home.  Dependency sometimes puts them at a real disadvantage when assertiveness might be in order.  This can range from not wanting to ask for assistance for fear of “annoying the staff” to being afraid to report serious complaints for fear of reprisal.  The senior may not want to burden the family with their concerns.

Most family visits occur on the weekend at the same time every week.  Maybe you call every evening, but are you getting the full story from your loved one?   A regularly scheduled, once a week visit is not enough to give you a true picture of the care that is being provided. Unfortunately care facilities face staffing challenges.  For example, if the facility has 2 caregivers call in sick on a Wednesday, and they are unable to get extra help, caregiver resources then have to stretch further by taking on extra residents that they normally don’t care for.  The caregiver will cut corners to make sure they can get to everyone.  If they know you won’t show up until Saturday, that shower your loved one gets every Wednesday might be put off.  What if they don’t have time to clean that spilled water off the floor?  Not a big deal you might be thinking but that is a fall hazard.  What other corners are they cutting to make sure everyone is seen?

Families have important expertise – knowledge of the individual, family history, and emotional ties that are important ingredients in successful care. The other important care ingredients are the caregivers and the facility.  The care monitor partners with the family to establish clear communication with the facility that is ongoing and focuses on the quality of care/care needs of their loved one.  Monitoring takes place at different times and on different days, random visits.  The focus is on the health, well-being and safety of your loved one in addition to maintenance, supplies and staffing.  You get a detailed report and can customize the frequency of the visits. If an issue arises, the care monitor works with the client family and facility to resolve the issues. Care monitoring focuses on the unique routine and care plan of your family member to make sure the facility is compliant.  The care monitor is also on the lookout for reassessment points, are they falling more frequently, having trouble with grooming, becoming more socially isolated, etc.  Management and staffing changes can also have an impact on care and may need to be addressed.

The objective of care monitoring is to keep your senior loved one on track, successful in their senior community and happy with their home.  Through care monitoring, both the family and the senior, learn how to be better consumers of care. Family members don’t worry about what goes on in between the visits because the care monitor keeps them informed. When family members do go and visit, they are relaxed and focused on making and sharing more memories with their senior loved one.  That’s a win/win for everyone! For more information, please contact Karas Care Associates, 972-841-8602, KarasCareAdvocates.com.

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