As a nurse, I see the challenges that my patients face on both physical and emotional levels. My job is to not only make sure their basic needs are being met on a daily basis, but also to encourage them to focus their energies on a successful recovery. Many patients are caught off guard and did not expect to end up in a nursing home after an illness or surgery. Other patients, however, did their homework and anticipated the need for continuing care. The patients that plan ahead, it seems, are most often the ones who recover more quickly.
Most people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan. – John Beckley
Preparation and education are often underrated keys to a successful recovery. I strongly encourage any patient who is facing a major surgery to explore their options BEFORE they are hospitalized. Educate yourself on nursing facilities in your area and visit those facilities with your family members. While on your visit, pay attention to things like the sights, sounds and, yes, even the smells of those facilities. Talk to patients who are receiving care in that nursing facility and ask about their experience and whether or not they would recommend that facility and its care providers.
Learn as much as you can about the daily routine at the nursing facility where you are considering receiving care. Estimate the amount of time nursing staff will interact with you to get you on the road to recovery. As a patient, will you have good access to caregivers, or will you be sharing one caregiver with dozens of other patients? Is therapy offered every day, including on the weekends? Are the ratios of these caregivers adequate to provide you with the care you need for a speedy and successful recovery?
In addition to being informed and prepared for a nursing home stay, another important aspect for recovery is maintaining a positive attitude. Overcoming pain and fatigue during recovery is tough, but having a good support system and strong nursing and therapy staff that provides encouragement every day can really make a difference to help patients see that renewed independence is within their reach.
There are no guarantees in life, but being an engaged in your own healthcare and taking an active role in your recovery process will improve your chances of a successful recovery.
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