Kathryn Stock details her anguish when deciding whether or not to put elderly relatives into care.
Writing up my patient notes, I see the front page of the newspaper with an article about the poor care given in nursing homes.
As a nurse working in a nursing home, I am struck both by the probable truth of the article, and angered because I know of many homes that offer excellent care.
I’ve worked in a variety of nursing homes during my 30 years as a trained nurse. Some I would not choose to work in again and some, I probably would place a loved one.
I say probably because however well the care staff work and however good the facilities and surroundings, I’m unsure it can ever be like home for the resident.
I reflect on the decision, not that far away, when one or both of my elderly parents may need care. Currently my parents, both in their eighties, remain independent.
We had a wake up call last year when my Mum broke her hip and we weren't sure how well she would recover. However, she has done well and is even back driving.
But when the time comes that they need care what will I do?
Such a hard decision that families in the UK make every day.
Do I give up my job, or cut down on my hours in order to care for my parents so they can stay at home?
This would be my preference, as to ask an elderly person to leave their home, sell their house, throw away most of their belongings at such a vulnerable time, is heartbreaking.
To ask them to move to live in a nursing home with lots of people they don't know, being relieved of control of meal times, when they go to bed, get up, and even go to the toilet, as this is now at the mercy of the available care staff and their willingness to help; can I do that to my parents?
And yet I look after other people's parents, brothers or sisters every day, and love and care for them as if they were my own.
Many elderly people chose the care home option and are happy with their decision. Living with others can reduce loneliness and lift the worries of having to shop, clean or cook, whilst allowing the person to spend their time socialising, joining in activities, or being entertained.
For every family, the decision is personal.
Our responsibility as care givers, is to give the best possible care in a compassionate and loving way.
Browse our list of Nursing Home Nurse Jobs here.