Adapting to a Long Term Care Facility Essay

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The character Dorothy said in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, “there is no place like home” (Baum, 1960, p. 45). Sadly, many of our elderly live in Long Term Care Facilities (LTCF). The transition from living in their own homes, to living in a LTCF, can be a traumatic experience. Poor adaptation to a LTCF may cause depression, malnutrition and significantly reduce the lifespan of the elder. Thus, it is imperative, that nurse’s recognize this promptly.
According to Agnes and Guralnik (2008) adaptation is “a gradual change in behavior to conform to the prevailing cultural pattern (p. 15).” When elders are placed in a LTCF, whether it be voluntarily or involuntarily, they must give up certain liberties that are taken for granted. This includes independently bathing, cooking their meals, and having the freedom to come and go. In most LTCF’s there are scheduled routines of activities, to include meals, bathing, a few physical activities and a lot of down time. The down time can be especially hard for the elders. It is in this period of time, when they may think about family, friends, and other activities they have had to give up.
Parker (2013) mentioned to me in an interview, she is very fortunate to have family members that still care for her since moving into the nursing home. Her daughters and sons come multiple times throughout the day and evening checking on her. She goes on to say that, many of the other residents do not have family or friends. They just sit in their chairs, and stare off into space, wasting away. Nursing homes have been looked at as institutions, rather than homes for the elderly. This leads to more negative thoughts about LTCF’s and the care provided there.
As Whitaker (2009) mentions, LTCF’s enc...

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....). Skilled nursing facilities and convalescent homes. Retrieved November 20, 2013, from
Ackley, B. J., & Ladwig, G. B. (2011). Nursing diagnosis handbook: an evidence-based guide to planning care (9th ed.). Maryland Heights, Mo: Mosby.
Agnes, M., & Guralnik, D. (2007). Webster's New World college dictionary (4th ed.). Cleveland, Ohio: Wiley.
Baum, F. (1960). The wonderful wizard of Oz. New York, NY: Dover Publications.
Bergland, A., & Kirkevold, M. (2005). Thriving in nursing homes in Norway: Contributing aspects described by residents. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 43, 681–691. Retrieved November 20, 2013, from the Ebsco database.
Whitaker, A. (2009). Family involvement in the institutional eldercare context towards a new understanding. Journal of Aging Studies, 23(3), 158-167.

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