Sunday, October 25, 2009

Moving Family to a Nursing Home: What to Bring

Written by a former nursing home social worker

Here's a checklist of things to consider when moving a parent or loved one to a nursing home. As a nursing home social worker, I've seen these things overlooked many times yet they can make a loved one's stay more comfortable.
  1. Clothing for at least 7 days. Generally, residents moving into a nursing home are encouraged to bring in at least a week's worth of clothing changes. If a resident will be participating in a rehab or walking program, they are also encouraged to bring extra sweatshirts, sweatpants or jogging suits. Also, the shoe of choice for these programs has been the gym shoe with Velcro closures. Two or three pairs of non-skid socks may also be indicated. Various sweaters or jackets are also a good idea, so your loved one is comfortable in varying weather and room temperatures.
  2. Leave the jewelry and valuables at home, with relatives or in a safe deposit box.
  3. Shampoo and soap if the resident is sensitive or has brand preferences.
  4. Personal touches for the resident's room such as pictures, quilts/blankets, clocks, calendars and decorative items. Make sure items are labeled with the resident's name.
  5. Glasses, hearing aids and dentures. Make sure these items as well as their containers are labeled with the resident's name.
  6. Radios or small TVs. Check with the nursing home to find out what sizes are appropriate or if these items are already provided. If you do bring them, make sure they are labeled with the resident's name.
  7. Extra furniture and clothing. While these items go a long way for the comfort of your loved one, space in a nursing home is limited. Consult with the nursing home before you bring these items.
  8. Phone and cable services. Consider whether the resident would benefit from having their own services and ask the nursing home how they are arranged within their facility.
  9. Emergency contacts on an easily accessible list. Try laminating or using an inexpensive frame. Place it somewhere easy to access, yet is not readily viewable to visitors -- like inside a wardrobe door or bedside table drawer.
  10. Address book to keep in contact with friends and family.
  11. Laundry basket or hamper. This will keep the resident's room tidy and will be helpful if family will be doing the laundry.
  12. Bladder control products. Products like Depends are a must-have if your loved one has loss of bladder or bowel control. Nursing homes generally supply cloth products but these can be less effective and may require more clothing on hand in the event of leaks.

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