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August 8, 2022

Guest Column | The Advantage of a Skilled Nursing Facility Is Right in the Name

While caring for aging parents or ill spouses can be viewed as an honor, it can also present serious physical and emotional challenges for caregivers and their families. Stress often plays a big part in caregiving. Left unchecked, caregiver stress can have detrimental effects on physical and mental health.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that those who experience caregiver strain have a 63% higher risk of mortality compared to non-caregivers of the same age.

Furthermore, the consequences of chronically high stress levels extend beyond caregivers themselves. Physical, mental and emotional strain ultimately affect one’s ability to provide quality care. Remember, you can’t care for your loved one if you are ill yourself. 

Realizing that you can no longer provide the level of care your loved one requires can bring on feelings of guilt and shame. Perhaps you once made a promise to always keep your loved one at home. Or maybe they have openly expressed fear or despair over the prospect of entering a professional facility.

It’s never an easy decision, but the Skilled Nursing Facility at Mee Memorial Healthcare System represents a unique, holistic approach to caring for those we can no longer care for at home.

The advantage of choosing a skilled nursing facility is right in the name. Skilled nursing care is a high level of medical care that must be provided by or under the direct supervision of licensed health professionals.

Mee Memorial offers 48 beds with a 5-Star Medicare rating that provides the highest level of medical, nursing and rehabilitative care. Its location one level above the hospital enables a highly-qualified staff to provide valuable resources, including dieticians, social workers, and a wide range of caregivers who can and do check in every day. What’s more, our South County facility provides culturally-sensitive care and ensures Spanish speaking residents feel at home.

Mee residents have access to around-the-clock acute care, because time is of the essence when a resident needs expedient medical treatment. The facility boasts the best nurse-to-patient ratios in the county, with highly-trained caregivers on staff. ED physicians and hospitalists are on-site seven days a week, 24 hours a day, and Mee provides a full-time infection-control nurse.

“Our specialty is individual, culturally appropriate care that feels like an extension of the home the resident has enjoyed their entire life,” said Lisa Moylan, Chief Nursing Officer (CNO). “You may see us on a stroll around town, visiting the Fair, or listening to live music. Holidays are always a special time for our residents with decorations and activities. We also encourage family involvement in the care of our residents. We are proud to have created a place to come and be comfortable.”

Skilled Nursing at Mee Memorial Healthcare System offers an attractive list of features and activities, including a lovely garden courtyard. Daily activities include trips into the community and various events. 

Activities Coordinators provide a great roster of programs for residents of all function levels and needs while encouraging all to participate, these include: art therapy, crafts and music; Bingo; community outings; cookouts; gardening and flower arranging; interactive cooking; library books, movies, magazines and audiobooks; live music and entertainment visits; reading groups; religious services and visits; special events and holiday parties.

While Mee Memorial’s credentials may ease a caregiver’s mind, the guilt can still live on. What many family caregivers don’t realize is that their role doesn’t end with such a placement. They will still be part of the “care team” after they move. They will still need you as their advocate. It’s important that caregivers accept this newly defined role and the benefits it provides.

The Mee facility prides itself on maintaining contact and open communication between the facility, families and residents, with the team ready to arrange professional services for all residents. “We work with all hospitals and referring agencies to review and accept patients and meet their needs,” said Moylan.

Signs of caregiver stress

Too much stress, especially over a long time, can harm your health. As a caregiver, you’re more likely to experience symptoms of depression or anxiety. In addition, you may not get enough sleep or physical activity, or eat a balanced diet — which increases your risk of medical problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. As a caregiver, you may be so focused on your loved one that you don’t realize that your own health and well-being are suffering. 

Watch for these signs of caregiver stress, published by the Mayo Clinic: feeling overwhelmed or constantly worried; feeling tired often; getting too much sleep or not enough sleep; gaining or losing weight; becoming easily irritated or angry; losing interest in activities you used to enjoy; feeling sad; having frequent headaches, bodily pain or other physical problems; and abusing alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications.

Remember, a commitment to enjoying a life of your own will make you a more refreshed caregiver and protect against stress and burnout. Skilled nursing will provide your loved one with the care and engagement that they require. And that’s a winning formula for everyone.

To find out more about Mee Memorial Skilled Nursing Facility, or to seek a consultation, call 831-385-7276.

Rena Salamacha
CEO, Mee Memorial Healthcare System
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