It's OK, Mom. Retsinas J. New York. The Tiresias Press, Ine, 1986, 192 pages, softcover.
It's OK, Mom is an insightful book which speaks with frankness and clarity about the care facility termed "nursing home." The entire book is based upon the premise that the name "nursing home" seems to be an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms. On one hand, "nursing" evokes an image of uniformed staff and agency regulations. While the term "home" evokes warmth, affection and a sense of community.
The author describes a research study conducted in a nameless nursing home in New England. Data was obtained from staff interviews, patient charts, case histories, and observation. The book details the results of the study which examined the emotional feelings of staff toward residents, staff knowledge about residents' pasts, friendships among residents, and the residents' identities. The purpose of die study was to investigate to what extent the nursing home meets the criteria of a family.
The book paints some bleak images of the depersonalization and loss of identity which can take place upon admission. It found that 35% of the residents did not socialize with other residents. Some friendships did exist, however no outstanding factors were identified which appeared to influence the development of friendships. Staff knowledge of residents' paste indicated a mean of 24%. A great deal of information regarding the environmental effects of the person's socialization is discussed. There is a fair amount of repetitiveness in the book resulting in the study results being lost in all of the discussion.
Despite the discussion, the reader becomes sensitized to the issues and influences within the "nursing home." The book would be excellent for sociologists, nurses, and others working within long-term care facilities.