Nursing Homes: The Family's Journey By PeterS. Silin MSW, RSW; 2001; Baltimore, MD; Johns Hopkins University Press; 296 pages; soft cover; $16.95
Placing a family member in a nursing home is reported to be a traumatic event for family caregivers. This transition can result in feelings of uncertainty, guilt, grief, and anguish for family members. No in-depth guidelines related to the experience and process of placing a relative in a nursing home existed from the family caregivers' point of view. This book is a complete guide to the family's complex journey of placing someone in a nursing home. This book is incredibly helpful to families considering nursing home placement. It can give them insight into what to expect during the next stages of their journey in caring for their frail loved one. It is also a valuable tool for nursing home administrators, care staff, social workers, and family therapists to help them understand and be sympathetic to the experiences of their residents and family members.
The author, Peter Silin, ìs a geriatric social worker with his own geriatric care management company in Vancouver. This book combines his expertise and experiences with the residents, their families and friends, and the professional and nonprofessional members of the staff in the nursing home. The 17 chapters of the book are divided into four parts: caring decisions, the nursing home, moving in and settling in, and being the family member of someone in care. The four appendices contain invaluable information on state ombuds-person offices, assessing care in Canada, resident rights in the United States, and questionnaires for use when visiting nursing homes. Topics covered by each chapter are how to make decisions as a family, how to find a home, what good care is, how nursing homes function, and how to prepare a family and their loved one for the admission process. It also offers advice about adjustment and coping emotionally after placement, obtaining the best possible care, communicating with the system, visiting, and handling death and dying. Particularly useful in this book are 17 vignettes written by family caregivers on what they went through and how they handled their process. Although reading the experiences of family members helps validate and support the reader, some of the vignettes are a worrisome illustration of nursing home abuse. It is suggested that this book be recommended to family members and residents-to-be with a caution that the book contains some worst-case scenarios.