The nursing home I am working in is pretty great, and seems to run rather smoothly, in a low stress environment. In some ways, it is quite a bit different than any Canadian nursing home I have been in. Since I am a nurse, and therefore know a lot of nurses, I thought it might be interesting to share how the Danes do the nursing home thing. Before you keep reading, I must warn you, this post may only be of interest to fellow nurses, or anyone who has a loved one in a nursing home.
- Each resident has their own small apartment within the home. They have a combination living room and kitchen, and a spacious, wheel-chair friendly bathroom.
- In the kitchen they have a mini fridge, stove top, and a small area of cupboard and counter space. Come to think of it, their kitchens are very similar to the one in my apartment.
- In case you were worried, you can de-activate the stove knobs in the confused resident's rooms, so that it does not become hazardous.
- They have their own dishes, stemware, and cutlery. Each morning, they make their own breakfast and coffee, or their care giver for the day assists them. They can make any meal they want, depending on their abilities.
- Lunch and dinner are served in the dining room, and meals come with small glasses of wine or beer, if the resident wishes.
- The residents who can make their own breakfast, are free to make it whenever they like. Dinners are served at six o'clock. No eating dinner at 4pm for these senior citizens.
- Care staff brings around a cart of cakes and coffee or tea twice daily.
- The wheel-chair accessible bathrooms allow you to easily turn the chair completely around inside the room, and there is even enough room to wheel it right up to the sink with no hassle. Imagine that! They also have sliding doors that go into the wall, and are never in the way.
- Each bathroom has a shower, with a detachable head, and its own shower chair.
- Each bathroom also has a washer and dryer, for the resident to do their own laundry. Of course, staff and family do a lot of it, but the independent ones take pride in doing their own. The residents here are fairly independent, and are encouraged to do as much for themselves as possible.
- Smokers are allowed to do so in their apartment. Personally, I hate going into their rooms when they have the heat cranked up, the windows closed, and a stinky cig going. But hey, if you are a smoker, I suppose you should be allowed to smoke in your own home, that you pay to live in.
- RNs arrange their pills into pill boxes, a different box for each day of the week. Each box has a morning, afternoon, evening, and night time slot. The pill boxes are left in a cupboard in the residents room, and whoever their care giver is for that shift can give them the pills for the corresponding time of day.
- Each room has large windows that open, and some even have a small patio they can go to sit on.
- For heavier residents, who need help with turning, their bed has a special contraption that allows one nurse to turn them single-handed, with the simple push of a button. It is a miracle, and by far my favorite thing. A real back and time saver!
This nursing home strongly promotes the independence of the its residents, and has the facilities and resources to do so. It is refreshing to see the residents do their own laundry or dishes, and make their own breakfast. Having the opportunity to continue living how they did at home, with the added comfort of around the clock care and support, will certainly allow them to lead a longer life of higher quality.
Please note: This is the one and only Danish nursing home I have been in, so this post does NOT reflect any other nursing homes in this country.