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How to Support Someone in Skilled Nursing

October 06, 2022

Healthy Aging
Happy adult woman visiting her elderly mother

If your loved one or family member is receiving skilled nursing care, you probably want to know how you can support them, so their recovery goes as smoothly as possible.

“Patients who receive skilled nursing care appreciate support from friends, family, and loved ones, whether it’s spending time together or other thoughtful gestures. When the weather is nice, taking your loved ones outside is always encouraged. We often tell our families to bring in the patient’s pets for a visit as well. Seeing their furry friend is a great way to lift spirits during an illness,” says Nathan Yowell, Licensed Nursing Home Administrator at Sanders. 

Here are eight ways to help support your loved one who is receiving skilled nursing care:

  1. Visit Often
    Regular visits from family and friends help your loved one adjust to their new surroundings and feel more supported. What’s more, your loved one will look forward to your visits and enjoy the companionship and encouragement. 

  2. Tap Technology
    If you’re unable to visit your loved one in person, leverage technology and arrange a video-based visit. Whether you use your smartphone or a computer, your family member can enjoy the benefits of your company via a video call or chat session. 

  3. Actively Listen
    Some people in skilled nursing care feel isolated, so it’s important to listen with intent and actively engage with them when you visit. Ask your loved one how they are doing and offer your support and positivity. Listen with purpose. Repeat what your family member says to make sure you understand what they are trying to say.

  4. Bring Comfort Objects
    If your family member is receiving skilled nursing, be sure to bring a few mementos or familiar items from home to make their stay more comfortable. Whether it’s an article of clothing, a comforting blanket, or sentimental objects, try to bring meaningful items that your loved one can keep with them while they receive care.

  5. Share a Meal
    If possible, bring a meal or special treat to your loved one. This might be their favorite food, fresh baked goods, or other food that they might find comfort in. Check with staff members to find out if there are any restrictions on what you are allowed to bring.

  6. Bring a Photo Album
    Bring a scrapbook or photo album to your family member, including photos of your loved one and their immediate family. Having familiar faces and memories available can help your loved one feel connected to the outside world.

  7. Send Cards or Letters
    Receiving cards and letters helps your loved one feel supported and loved. Send postcards, greeting cards, or write a letter that will be appreciated for weeks to come.

  8. Remember Holidays
    If your loved one is receiving skilled nursing during the holidays, it’s especially important to visit. Do something special to commemorate the holiday whether that means sharing a meal, bringing a gift, or just spending quality time together.

“There are plenty of ways to support your loved one in a skilled nursing setting. At the end of the day, visiting your family member helps them feel connected and loved,” says Nathan.

You can learn more about skilled nursing care and what to expect by reading about Riverside Health System Skilled Nursing services online.

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