In Defense of Nursing Homes

Posted by Bernie Reifkind on November 27, 2013

As the president and founder of Premier Search, Inc. a nationwide recruitment firm that specializes in the search and placement of senior living professionals, I feel the need to share my thoughts on a topic that most people do not want to discuss: nursing homes.

And the people who work and own nursing homes.

Many people refer to nursing homes as skilled nursing facilities (or SNFs), convalescent hospitals, care centers, rehabilitation centers, sub acute centers, etc..

The bottom line is that nursing homes are places that we place Mom and Dad or other loved ones when they (or we) are not able to provide the kind of care that our loved ones deserve.

There is a lot of guilt associated with moving a loved one into a “care” facility when we are not able to care for them full time.

Why do we feel guilty, when in fact we are doing the best (and the right thing) when we move a loved one into a nursing home?

Nursing homes over the years have been given a bad rap.  It’s time to defend the nursing home industry and those that operate them.

When was the last time you visited a nursing home?  Things have changed dramatically (for the better) in the past few years.

Let’s examine the truth about nursing homes based on countless conversations that I have had over a span of more than 20 years from workers “on the front line” all the way to executives and owners.

I have rarely met anyone associated with nursing homes with larger hearts.

Nursing home people really care.  How do I know?  They tell me.

Think about this: nursing home employees and owners have chosen a career whose main purpose is taking care of others. Wow!

How many people do you know chose a job or career in which the goal is the welfare of others?

I have had the good fortune to speak with some of the finest professionals in the world under enormous stress (after all a nursing home is a business)  and all I hear is kindness.  Human kindness.  Nursing home people (for the most part) are doing the very best that they can.

I have asked nurses (many times over the years) why they got into nursing.  Almost 100% of the time they tell me that “it was a calling.”  A seasoned Director of Nursing is well paid, but nurses never tell me that they became a nurse because of  money.

Do people make mistakes in nursing homes?  Of course.  Big time.

That is why nursing homes are so heavily regulated.

Did you know that nursing homes are the second most heavily regulated industry in America?  The first is nuclear power. The rules and regulations associated with the senior care industry are very strict and as a result many nursing homes can get cited, fined or closed as a result of non compliance.

Isn’t that a good thing?  Rules and regulations are necessary so that our loved ones are safe and are protected as best as they can be.

But, let’s not be naïve and think that we do not have to hold nursing home operators accountable for the care that they provide.

In fact, it would be negligent of us if we didn’t.  Human beings are fallible and unfortunate situations do arise.

In all walks of life, there are bad seeds. So it would be wise to keep one’s finger on the pulse of a facility that is taking care of a loved one.

But also know, that nursing home providers put out a great product and service to all of us.  They provide care to our loved ones when we can no longer do it.  For many families, nursing homes are the only option available for a loved one.

We need nursing homes and the services that they provide to our families and friends.

Do not forget: nursing home people are trained professionals with licenses.

Feeling guilty is normal when we have to send our loved ones to a nursing home, but we should also be grateful that such intuitions exist. Nursing homes are run by competent and well meaning employees and owners.

In summary the senior care industry should be praised for what they do.  Not only are they caring for our loved ones, they are also providing jobs and play a big role in the dynamics of our economy.

The next time you meet someone in the senior care industry, think about the fact that this person chose a profession that cares for our loved ones.

Noble, indeed.

I am Bernie Reifkind,  CEO and founder of Premier Search, Inc. I can be reached at 1(800) 801-1400 or email at ceo@psihealth.com.  I welcome your phone call.

 

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