- Ann Hollander
Who is who in skilled nursing facilities?
If your loved one is discharged from the hospital to a skilled nursing facility (SNF), their care will be in the hands of a team of specialists. It's a good idea to understand the players' roles so you know whom to call upon for what.
Director of nursing. This professional oversees residents' medical issues. Also, the nursing staff. Their job includes tracking delivery of prescriptions and monitoring each resident's physical health. They also work with the SNF's doctor to carry out orders for therapy.
Social workers. Trained to address social, emotional, and psychological issues, social workers help residents and families adjust to life in the facility. When the time comes for discharge, they also help ease the transition. If there's something you want done differently with your loved one, you might start a conversation with the social worker.
Certified nursing assistants (CNAs). The CNAs are the frontline staff. From answering a call button to helping with bathing and dressing, they are often the biggest part of your relative's daily experience.
Therapists. Depending on your loved one's challenges, daily therapy may be required. A physical therapist helps improve walking, range of motion, stamina, and flexibility. A speech therapist helps residents recover language abilities. Or overcome swallowing problems. An occupational therapist uses exercises and assistive devices to regain daily life skills. They teach new strategies for self-care tasks such as feeding, dressing, and bathing.
Dietitian. Every resident has a food plan. This is based on their personal preferences and any medical restrictions (e.g., low fat, low salt, low sugar).
Activities director. This professional organizes activities for residents' social and mental stimulation.
Housekeeping. Is the bed rail not releasing? Is there a spill to be cleaned? These are responsibilities of the housekeeping staff.
Is your loved one in a skilled nursing facility?
It's easy to feel overwhelmed by all the different staff members. As the North Shore and Chicago experts in family caregiving, we at Options for Aging can help you understand the system and advocate for the care you want your relative to have. Give us a call at 847-868-1445.