What skills must be in place in the staff of an Adult Family Home in Kirkland?

A big difference between, say, a hospital and an Adult Family Home is that the latter does not usually have ill people residing there. We’ve all noticed how, if we’ve ever had the need to stay overnight in a hospital, we are scurried out of the place before we might ideally like to leave. There are a lot of reasons for that, mostly because of resources and insurance limits. In an Adult Family Home, however, it’s a true residence, often for a long time. If a resident moves in at say, sixty years of age, they might stay there several decades. In a hospital, on the other hand, the average stay is probably just several days. The very moment they are deemed not to need full time care, they are ferried to the door, so to speak. Having said all that, Adult Family Homes are residents for seniors. And as each of us knows well, with age comes an increasing degree of health issues. For some of us – I remember my dear father as a good example of this – health issues are frequent. My father entered hospital in the thirties with type 1 diabetes, and did manage to live until he was eighty-three, but seemed to have to visit the hospital with serious issues dozens of times over those following five decades. At one point, he had a five-week stay, when I was perhaps ten years of age. Still, most people can expect a smoother ride into their golder years than that, and for them, an Adult Family Home might be ideal.

Good Adult Family Homes hire retired nurses as caregivers

The great thing about Adult Family Homes is that most of them employ retired registered nurses as caregivers. What does that matter, you might ask! Well, retired nurses will have those decades of hospital work experience that may, when that minor crisis at three AM comes, make the difference between a bit of resident discomfort and a major health issue. What I mean by that is, many minor health challenges can be very temporary if they are dealt with right away. For example, if your child gets a pip stuck in its throat, and you know how to perform the Heimlich maneuver, you can take care of the problem in a few seconds. The Heimlich maneuver is something that would come as second nature to a registered nurse, along with countless other short order first aid procedures. But for a caregiver who is not also trained and experienced in nursing – however well meaning they might be – seconds might be lost while they try to deal with the situation. Do you call an ambulance? Do you shout down the hall for help? Do you ask the other residents looking on if they might know what to do? All that is unnecessary if you are a registered nurse. You simply know what to do. Of course, that’s if there is an actual caregiver present when a medical emergency surfaces, which brings me to the next point: Wake Staff.

Wake Staff caregivers means someone is there when there is ever a problem

“Wake Staff” are those caregiver staff whose job it is to stay overnight. They might not be actually active all night long, or even awake, but they are ready to spring into action if something happens. As they say, nothing good happens between midnight and four AM, and it seems like the perfect time for someone to run into a medical emergency. That’s just the time a registered nurse’s skills would be the perfect thing. It might be that a diabetic has a low sugar problem, and all it takes is a small sweet to solve the problem. An experienced, registered nurse will have bumped into that very same problem perhaps dozens of times in her career, so she will be able to recognize the problem right away, and deal with it. And when it happens in the middle of the night, that minuscule medical issue is remedied right away.

Caregivers knowing residents intimately is a security benefit

We’ve all seen the hospital TV drama where each hospital bed patient has a chart hanging at the end of each bed. As the doctor does his or her rounds, he lifts up the chart to remind himself of the disposition of each respective patient. Although he might be a bit familiar with each patient to a degree, there are simply too many patients – usually – under a single doctor’s care for him to try to commit each patient’s profile to memory. But at an Adult Family Home, the situation is different. Well, at least it is in the State of Washington. Here, there is a state-wide law that limits the number of Adult Family Home residents to just six persons in residence. That doesn’t include the wake staff or day staff, of course, but it is the requirement of any enterprise in the state wishing to sell its services as an Adult Family Home. Six people is a small number, if their general medical situation is required learning. Perhaps that’s why it is call an Adult Family Home. Six is about the size of a good sized family, and is a number small enough to get to know everyone intimately. When you are there all day looking after Frank, the ninety year-old with memory challenges, it’s not long before you get to know the names of all of his grandchildren. In fact such a ‘service’ is often found in Adult Family Homes. Before the family visits on the weekend, the caregiver goes over the grandchildren pictures to help a resident to remember their names!

Residents knowing caregivers is a comfort and security benefit

Many of us, at some time in our lives, profess to be misunderstood by those around us, perhaps even by those who love us. As we age, being understood can be of great value and comfort. Certain things upset us, other things don’t bother us at all, and when a caregiver knows us so well that she can, for example, turn that sports channel off before the results are announced, it can be of comfort to us. More comfort means less stress, and less stress means a longer life.

To a longer life!