This week singled out these important healthcare facilities, their residents, and those who work there
National Nursing Home Week® (NNHW, May 14–20) was the perfect time to celebrate the efforts of staff members who deliver quality care and make residents feel right at home in these unique patient care facilities. The American Healthcare Association (AHCA) founded NNHW in 1967, and the week always begins on Mother’s Day.
NNHW provides an opportunity to recognize the role of skilled nursing care centers in caring for America’s seniors and individuals with disabilities. This year, facilities united under the theme of “The Spirit of America”—which underscores the bond in each skilled nursing care center between residents, staff, and volunteers.
It’s essential to think about the many populations that make up our nursing homes around the country, which—just like in the rest of America—may include immigrants, proud veterans, and people of many different faiths and walks of life. The AHCA is eloquent about the meaning of the 2017 theme: “Visit one of these nursing centers in your town or city, and you will witness the American spirit in action…This tapestry of cultures and experiences capture the essence of our proud country.”
However, beyond this week, we should take time all year long to honor nurses, nursing assistants, and volunteers for the dedication and professionalism they devote to patients in these environments. At every skilled nursing care center, the residents have a unique spirit and the staff contributes to a vibrant community of caring and giving. We should recognize every small act of kindness, generosity, and compassion that is offered to residents, who can be at a highly vulnerable stage of life. It’s also important to remember any friends or family members you may have who reside in a skilled nursing facility. When was the last time you visited that person you know in your local nursing home?
Even though the week has passed, you can continue to honor this theme with residents at a facility where you may work. Here are just a few ideas from Notjustbingo.com:
- Host a “Veteran’s Story Circle” and encourage residents to share stories of about their service in the military.
- Host a “Parade for Immigrants” to celebrate residents’ ancestry.
- Plan a “Reminiscence Tea Party” where residents discuss a particular era of American history, like the Big Band era of the 1940s or space exploration in the 1960s.
- Organize an Immigrants’ Lunch with different foreign foods that have shaped American culture, like Italian spaghetti, Irish coffee, and Mexican tacos.
- Host a “Geography Challenge” to test residents’ knowledge of American geography.
We hope this post has raised your awareness of the importance of nursing homes and the role that nursing staff plays in these essential American communities. If you don’t work in a skilled nursing care center, why not volunteer at one today? A few hours a month could make a huge difference in someone’s life.
This article is part of the Salter School of Nursing Weekly blog. Reach out to us for more information about our various professional training programs or to schedule a tour of our campus in Manchester, NH.