Culture Change Best Practices:
Historically, children have viewed nursing homes as scary, cold and sterile
places. If the true sicknesses of nursing homes are loneliness, isolation and
boredom, then children are the perfect antidote. One of the best ways to encourage
children to feel more comfortable is to create a play area just for them. Find
an area in a room (often times a corner in the front living room) where a toy
chest can be placed. Fill this with donated items from staff. Children will
quickly find this area, and will look forward to playing when they come to
visit their family members.
Another way to welcome children is to encourage
staff to bring their children to work on a regular basis. Rather than a staff
member calling out due to a childcare issue, offer them the opportunity to
bring their child to work. Think of the nursing home as having a multitude
of grandmothers and grandfathers (the residents) and aunts and uncles (the
staff). Culturally transformed homes welcome children with open arms, and
share the responsibility of watching after them with joy.