How Families Can Cope With the Decision to Put Their Loved Ones in a Skilled Nursing Home

As your loved one’s primary caregiver, you are responsible for their health and wellness. You must make difficult decisions and consider all options about your loved one. This places pressure on you to make the best choice for this person who depends on you. The decision to place your loved one in a skilled nursing home is never easy, especially when you have been caring for your aging, sick, or injured loved one for a long time. However, a nursing home may be the best choice for your loved one to receive the care and support from a professional care team designed to help them reach their health goals and achieve the highest quality of life possible. Let’s discuss some tips to help families cope with the decision to put their loved ones in a skilled nursing home.

1. You Did Not Cause Your Loved One’s Decline in Health

When you take care of someone full-time, it can be easy to blame yourself for their condition. No matter the cause of your loved one’s decline in health, know that you did not cause this. Whether they are recovering from surgery or an injury or are living with a serious illness like Alzheimer’s, it’s important to remember that their health would likely continue to worsen whether you remained as their primary caregiver or had professional help.

2. Professional Care is a Next Step

Depending on your loved one’s health condition, they may require a professional level of care to address their unique needs. A skilled nursing facility conducts thorough assessments to determine whether a potential resident can benefit from their expert care and support. If ordered by their doctor, your loved one will be admitted to one of these long-term care facilities that provide skilled nursing care and regular monitoring. Indeed, a skilled nursing facility will help your loved one receive the care necessary to regain their independence and function. Additionally, allowing the experts to take the reins can help you avoid burnout as a caregiver and give you the time and energy to focus on your own life.

3. Accept that You Are Doing the Best You Can

Being the family caregiver for your loved one is a major responsibility. You have to make difficult decisions about things you do not have experience with and handle situations that don’t have a right or wrong choice. After you make a decision about your loved one’s health, you must accept the results no matter what they are. This can mean several new immediate changes or maintaining the same care for weeks or months. Remember that you have a challenging, yet rewarding job. You can only do the best you can with the information, resources, and time you have. It’s not giving up on your loved one if you realize you require professional help.

4. You Have to Live Your Own Life

When taking care of your loved one, it’s a good idea to remember that you can only do so much. Some things are out of your hands. If your family also helps care for the loved one, there will be times when people do not agree with your decisions. Remember that you are trying your best, but cannot allow the situation or others to prevent you from living your own life too. Indeed, you have to make time for yourself to avoid the dreaded burnout.

5. Determine the Best Options for Your Loved Ones

Your loved one may not be keen on the idea of moving to a skilled nursing home. After all, this means giving up their independence and the comfort of their own home. This can be an emotional time for your family as you debate on what’s the best option for them. You may feel guilty about considering the idea, but these facilities are designed to help patients regain their function and independence. Indeed, your loved one will have access to the care, support, and professional therapy services necessary for them to meet their goals. These facilities will motivate your loved one to do their best, just like you have done as their caregiver.

6. Allow the Skilled Nursing Home to Do Their Job

After your loved one’s doctor has ordered skilled nursing care and they have been approved to move to a local facility, it’s important to research the facility. Check out their website to learn about their services, visiting hours, location, and contact information. Encourage your loved one to look at the site with you, so they can see what the facility looks like and what it offers them. When they know what to expect, you will find that your loved one will be more willing to consider the transition from their home to a skilled nursing facility. 

Once your loved one has moved in, take this time to accept that the facility will be the main provider for now. You will still be able to visit them, ensure they are receiving quality care, and bring special items to remind them of everyone that loves them. By allowing the nursing home to do their job, this will give you more time to focus on your life, such as work, hobbies, and relationships.

We hope you found these tips helpful if you are deciding whether to put your loved one in a skilled nursing home. Use online reviews from other families and patients that share their experiences with a reputable skilled nursing facility you are looking at. This will provide you with valuable insight into whether a specific nursing home is the best option for your loved one. While the skilled nursing facility will provide the primary care and support, your loved one will still need you to play an active role in their recovery. Contact Liberty Healthcare and Rehabilitation Services to learn more about our short and long term rehabilitation services and find a facility near you across North Carolina.