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The Nursing Department
Their Role in the Nursing Home

Your loved one has entered, or is about to enter a nursing home. You are aware that nursing care is the key to their short or long term stay, and their progress. You have questions about the role of the nursing department, and the prognosis of your loved ones.

The Director of Nursing oversees the whole department, and is the direct supervisor of the shift nursing supervisor. The Director of Nursing works side-by-side with the Administrator, answering concerns that staff can not handle on the unit level.

Your contact person will be the unit manager, a registered nurse with supervisory experience. This nurse generally works days, Monday through Friday and coordinates all aspects of patient care. Depending on the type of unit your loved one resides on, there will be other registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants, and, possibly, restorative nursing assistants, assigned to the care of your loved one. Staffing varies with the care requirements of the unit, and residents. The staffing ratio will be increased on the skilled units in comparison to the nonskilled units, or otherwise know as, long-term units.

Nursing provides 24-hour care, seven days a week to each resident. Nursing is expected to meet the needs of each resident as immediately as possible, but in reality there are many residents with many needs. Nursing must prioritize the needs of their residents, and is expected to meet all resident needs in a reasonable amount of time.

A conference should be scheduled by staff within two weeks of admission. At this conference your loved one's care needs will be reviewed and a discussion made as to what goals can be reasonably established. A person's discharge potential may also be discussed at this time. There is input into the individual care plan of your loved one by the physician, nursing, social services, dietary, activities and any rehabilitation therapies. This conference should help alleviate any concerns you may have, and encourage you to ask any questions in regards to the care, and prognosis of your loved ones. This is also a forum for nursing to learn your expectations for care as well as any additional needs of your loved ones. You are encouraged to request additional conferences when questions, concerns and/or new needs occur.

The nursing department is always available to all their residents, families, and significant others, to address any problems, concerns or answer questions. They do encourage you to address your concerns immediately with the person involved or unit manager. If at any time you are not satisfied, it is advised, you contact the Director of Nursing or the Administrator.

  Celebrating Nursing
An Intergenerations feature article written by Judith Mathews, RN, Ph.D.

  Geriatric Nursing
An authoritative and comprehensive source for clinical information and management advice relating to the care of older adults.

The official website of the American Nurses Association, brings you the world of nursing at your fingertips.


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