Visiting a parent in a nursing home is not just an act of duty; it is an essential opportunity to maintain a meaningful connection, provide emotional support, and contribute to their overall well-being. But, determining how often to visit requires a delicate balance and finding what works best for your parent, yourself, and your family dynamics.
We understand the deep love and concern you have for your aging parents and recognize the complex emotions and challenges that come with having a loved one residing in a nursing home. That is why we have dedicated this blog to guide you in navigating the question of how often to visit a parent in nursing home.
Join us as we explore this important topic and strive to create a loving and supportive environment for our parents in long-term care facilities.
Do nursing homes have visiting hours?
According to the Center for Elder Law and Justice, nursing homes must allow visitations at all times and for all residents. But visiting policies and hours can vary between different nursing homes and are subject to change, especially during extraordinary circumstances such as a public health crisis or outbreaks within the facility.
What are the rules for nursing home visits?
As we mentioned earlier, all nursing facilities are obliged to allow visitors at all times, unless there are clinical or safety reasons, or the resident refuses to allow visitation. Here are some standard rules and regulations for nursing home visits:
- The nursing facility must disclose the visitation policies before a resident moves in.
- The resident must consent to meet visitors.
- A resident can allow or withdraw visitation consent at any time.
- Nursing facilities are not allowed to impose any specific visiting hours.
- To prevent the spread of any transmissible disease, nursing homes may limit or restrict visitations or conduct health screenings for visitors.
- Nursing homes cannot limit the frequency and length of visits.
- Any legal, government representatives, resident’s physicians, and immediate family member must be allowed to pay visits at any time as long as the resident consents.
How often to visit parent in nursing home: the influencing factors
Determining how often to visit a parent in a nursing home depends on various factors. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, here are some influencing factors that may determine how often you should visit a parent in nursing homes.
1. Parent’s preferences
Your parents’ desire and preference regarding visitation is the key determinant of how often you are allowed to visit. Some parents may appreciate frequent visits as it provides companionship and emotional support, while others may value independence and prefer less frequent visits.
2. Parent’s health and well-being
Consider your parent’s physical and mental health before paying a visit. If your parent has medical conditions or requires more attention and care, you may want to visit more frequently to ensure their well-being. Conversely, if they are in good health and don’t require constant monitoring, less frequent visits may be appropriate.
3. Availability and proximity
Your own availability and proximity to the nursing home are also important factors. If you live nearby and have a flexible schedule, you may be able to visit more frequently. However, if distance or other commitments restrict your ability to visit often, you may need to find alternative ways to stay connected.
4. Other family involvement
The involvement of other family members in visiting your parent can also influence visitation frequencies. For example, if you have siblings or other relatives who can also visit, you may distribute the responsibility and coordinate visits to ensure regular contact with your parent.
5. Your own emotional well-being
Another factor that may determine how often to visit parent in nursing home is your own emotional well-being and capacity to visit. Visiting a parent in a nursing home can evoke various emotions, including guilt, sadness, or stress. It’s essential to prioritize self-care and ensure that the frequency of visits aligns with your emotional needs.
6. Other forms of communication
Nowadays, technological devices have made it easier to stay connected with loved ones from a distance. If there are alternative ways of staying connected with your parent, in-person visits could be reduced. Phone calls, video chats, or sending letters and care packages can be meaningful ways to maintain regular contact, even if physical visits are not possible or frequent.
7. Facility policies
Familiarize yourself with the policies and guidelines of the nursing home regarding visitation. While nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities must allow visitations at all times, some may have restrictions due to safety protocols, resident needs, or other clinical needs.
Importance of staying connected with parents in nursing homes
Staying connected with parents in nursing homes is vital for their emotional well-being, quality of life, and overall health. Here are some of the key benefits:
1. Emotional well-being
Regular contact and connection with loved ones can have a positive impact on emotional well-being. For parents in nursing homes, separation from family members can lead to feelings of loneliness, isolation, and even depression. Staying connected helps combat these feelings and provides emotional support.
2. Sense of security
Staying connected with parents in nursing homes enhances their sense of security. Your presence and ongoing connection provide a support system for your parent. They know they have someone to turn to in times of need, whether it’s for emotional support, decision-making, or assistance with personal matters.
3. Monitoring health
Frequent visits allow you to observe your parent’s physical and mental well-being firsthand. You can identify any changes in their condition, address concerns promptly, and communicate with the nursing home staff to ensure they receive appropriate care.
4. Advocacy and communication
By staying connected, you can actively participate in your parent’s care. You can communicate with healthcare providers, discuss treatment plans, share important information, and advocate for your parent’s needs and preferences.
5. Sharing life events
Staying connected enables you to share important life events, milestones, and family news with your parent. It helps them remain involved and connected to the broader family unit, fostering a sense of belonging and inclusion.
6. Opportunities for socialization
Visits from loved ones offer opportunities for socialization and interaction, which are essential for mental stimulation and cognitive well-being. Engaging in conversations, activities, and shared experiences can enhance their overall social and emotional health.
7. Protection from potential abuse
Unfortunately, elder abuse can occur in various forms, including physical, emotional, sexual, financial, or neglectful abuse. Staying connected with parents in nursing homes can play a role in safeguarding them from potential abuse and neglect.
10 things to consider while visiting a parent in nursing home
When visiting a parent in a nursing home, it’s important to consider several factors to ensure a positive and meaningful experience for both you and your parent. Here are the top ten things to keep in mind:
- Respect your parent’s privacy and personal boundaries, for example, ask for their consent before entering their room or accessing personal belongings.
- Coordinate with your parent to schedule visits in advance.
- Consider the best time of day for your visits based on your parent’s preferences and their daily routine.
- Plan activities or bring items that your parent enjoys. This can include reading aloud, playing games, listening to music, looking at photo albums, or engaging in hobbies they are still able to participate in.
- Give your parent your full attention. Demonstrate interest, listen to their thoughts, and validate their emotions.
- Pay attention to their non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions, body language, and gestures.
- Offer physical touch, such as holding hands or giving hugs if it is welcomed.
- Take the opportunity to engage with the nursing home staff during your visits.
- Be flexible and adaptable to changes in your parent’s health or circumstances.
- Respect the facility’s designated visiting policies and guidelines.
As you navigate the decision of how often to visit your parent in a nursing home, remember that your presence holds immeasurable value. Each visit is an opportunity to deepen your connection and provide comfort in a way that only you can. Reflect on your parent’s needs, your own schedule, and what feels feasible for both of you.
Perhaps you can commit to a weekly visit, setting aside dedicated time to be fully present with them. Or maybe circumstances allow for more frequent visits, enabling you to be a consistent source of love and support. The key is to find a balance that works for both of you, ensuring that your visits are not merely a routine, but rather cherished moments of shared laughter, heartfelt conversations, and treasured memories.
We hope this blog helps you forge a bond that transcends the confines of a nursing home, bringing immeasurable joy and strength to both you and your parent.
Is there any specific nursing home visit duration?
In general, there is no specific nursing home visit duration. But sometimes facilities may impose some restrictions due to external circumstances (e.g., COVID-19 restrictions).
What happens if you don’t visit your parent in nursing home?
There could be several consequences of not visiting your parents in a nursing home. That includes:
- Emotional impact: Your parent may feel abandoned, lonely, and neglected, leading to depression and declining mental well-being.
- Social isolation: They may become socially isolated within the nursing home, lacking interaction and experiencing decreased quality of life.
- Lack of advocacy: You may miss opportunities to advocate for their needs and ensure proper care.
- Strained relationships: Your absence may strain your relationship with your parent and other family members, leading to fractured family dynamics.
- Increased dependence on staff: Your parent may rely more on nursing home staff for companionship and emotional support.