Something Good About Nursing Homes: A Nurse’s Story

I’ve read Leslie Curtin’s story three times and it still makes me cry. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
We had a man admitted status post CVA (after a stroke). He was never going to recover to the point where his wife could take him home since he was a 2 person assist to do anything and couldn’t really bear weight well. They were a lovely couple…had been married for 40 something years and clearly still adored each other. Every winter at this facility we had the Snowflake Ball. The residents would dress in gowns and suits…hair done, makeup on, be escorted to the ‘ball room’, listen to live music, have a special meal, and dance.
This man’s wife came in a beautiful gown. She watched some of the other residents dancing and said “I wish I could have just one more dance with my husband.” The social worker and I were standing there with her. We just looked at each other and without really discussing it, stood the man up so he could ‘dance’ with his wife. She was crying, he was crying, we were crying. It was such a little thing for us to do but it made such a huge difference for them.
I think things like this happen every day in facilities around the country but no one hears about them because they aren’t glamorous or exciting.
You can use my name or not as you see fit. As I tell my staff on a regular basis:
It’s not about you…it’s not about me. It’s about the people we take care of every day.

6 thoughts on “Something Good About Nursing Homes: A Nurse’s Story”

  1. Thanks, Dale. Today a very depressed resident new to the nursing home told me she'd followed my recommendation, gone to an activity, and was thinking about trying a Thanksgiving holiday event. It made my day!

  2. Dr. El,

    This is such a beautiful and touching story on so many levels…and now it made me cry.

    As a staff member in a nursing home we have often heard, been inserviced on, received sensitivity training on, etc. all the losses that a resident often endures being admitted to a nursing home. In twenty-five years I don't think I have ever heard mention of the losses that a loved one of a resident experiences.

  3. You're right, Sue, all the focus is on the resident, but when one person is admitted to the nursing home, the whole family is affected. It's sometimes frustrating for me as a psychologist when I see that the family member could really use my help as much or more than the resident, but my role is to be there for the residents. I encourage family members to seek out as much support as possible, whether it's a psychologist in the community, friends or spiritual connections, or online resources such as the ones I've listed in my sidebar under "Resources for Families — Blogs and Web Links."

  4. Thanks, Kim, for your comment. i agree, Leslie Curtin and her social worker colleague really transformed the event for that couple.

    I welcome all positive nursing home stories for possible future blog posts. Please send them to me via the Contact Me button at the top of my sidebar on the right. Thanks!


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