If you feel a special closeness with the elderly or those who depend on care, if compassion and respect stir you to approach them and listen to their thoughts, then you may very well be the right kind of person to work in a long-term care facility, often generically called nursing homes.
In a professional long-term care setting, tactful and good-humored care, patience, knowledgeable observation, and interactive communication become professional qualifications and assets.
Communication skills, listening and patiently explaining things like medications, dietary issues, and why the person is in the nursing home, often over and over again, are essential to building rapport and trust with the residents, which is key to high-quality, professional nursing home work.
Types of Long-Term Care Facilities
Seniors mainly need long-term care, but it is a solution for anyone who has weakened or waning physical or mental capabilities. Long-term care facilities vary in the level and type of care they provide. On a continuum, these types range from nursing homes with full-time care and regular medical assistance to assisted-living housing for a safer environment and full-time care to independent living or retirement communities for those who need minor care. Still, they may have a progressive need for capable helping hands and supervision.
Nursing Home Jobs
At the top of the long-term care continuum, nursing homes provide round-the-clock professional support, including medical and emergency attention, as well as assistance with daily activities such as eating, taking medication on schedule, personal hygiene and dressing, using the bathroom, general mobility, and housekeeping. These facilities provide rehabilitation services, supervised meals, and social or recreational activities. Residents usually share a room, although they may also have a private room.
Nursing home residents generally require a higher level of care, and nursing homes meet this need with registered nurses (RNs) on site 24 hours a day.
In contrast to nursing homes, much of the care in assisted living setups is on an as-needed basis. An assisted living facility supports daily hygiene, meals, and medication when needed by each resident. Residents may live in an apartment or a room with a kitchenette and prepare their meals, or they can join others for the meals provided. They may also enjoy companionship in social and recreational activities.
Assisted living facilities are best for those who need a safer, healthier environment but not necessarily full-time care or extensive medical attention.
Retirement Communities (CCRCs)
Continuing care or retirement communities provide a full range of senior care in three stages: independent living, assisted living and living in a nursing home. Thus, a resident may move into the independent living area, but if the need arises, change to a region with more support without looking for another facility or making a significant move. Relocation to a new environment with new people can be quite disconcerting to an elder who is beginning to experience cognitive impairments, such as losing their way around in familiar places.
CCRCs are ideal for seniors beginning to show signs of needing care or living alone and suffering from isolation. Outings and other recreational activities are often lovely in CCRCs and help build friendships and a sense of community.
This is, by far, the most expensive of these three types of long-term care facilities.
Who Works at Nursing Homes?
Long-term care facilities suffer from the ongoing nursing shortage, just like hospitals and nursing homes offer jobs for RNs, certified nursing assistants (CNAs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), physical therapists, dietary aides, and cooks.
The RNs are the Head Nurses or supervisors in charge of designing work schedules and allotting assignments to the LPNs and CNAs. RNs working in nursing homes are often involved in case management and treatment planning; they are responsible for monitoring the residents’ health, administering medication, and ensuring they receive proper care, at times acute care. RNs also have a role in patient and family education and must inform the family of any change in the patient’s health.
The LPNs working under the guidance of the Head RN are entrusted with the bedside and daily care, including taking the vital signs, applying bandages, inserting catheters monitoring IVs, and giving enemas. They record all health and vital signs changes and report to the RN. Their job also covers personal hygiene and, if necessary, feeding the patients, getting them out of bed, or shifting their position, all inspired with compassion and respect. It is a physically demanding job for both the LPNs and the CNAs.
The CNA’s job is to assist the LPNs, often including tasks such as changing bed sheets and pans, bathing, feeding or walking the patients, helping with personal hygiene, or any other tasks indicated by the LPN or RN.
Should I Pick Up Nursing Home Jobs?
For a compassionate, observant, friendly, and outgoing nurse, long-term care jobs will allow you to excel professionally and serve those dear, elderly patients in need of supervision and support and thoughtful, warm-hearted company. In contrast to other healthcare centers, you will get to know the patients and develop genuine friendships.
You can learn valuable lessons about the aging process from the wealth of experience and wisdom of people who have already lived most of their lives. The downside is that many patients are approaching the end of their lifetime, and you will have to deal with death and parting. It is important to ask about their feelings, listen to their concerns, and offer practical support for the patients and their families.
Build a Professional Future Caring for the Elderly
Use your favorite healthcare staffing app to find RN, LPN, or CNA nursing home jobs near you. The Nursa team will be happy to help you find shifts and try out this fulfilling, endearing area of nursing.