Nursing homes call on relatives to help take care of frail elderly

Photo: depositphotos
Photo: Depositphotos

Several nursing homes in the Netherlands have written to relatives asking them to  help take care of their family members because of the shortage of staff, the AD reported on Thursday.

For example, the Thebe group has written to relatives of the residents in its 23 care homes asking them to help their relatives shower, put on support stockings and to eat. ‘This will enable us to free up our nursing staff,’ a spokesman told the paper.

Amsterdam nursing home Amsta has made a similar request, urging relatives to come and have a coffee or play a game with their family member. ‘These things are first to go when we have staff shortages and that is why we are asking for your help,’ the letter to relatives said.

Homes in Zwolle and Hardenburg have also asked relatives to get involved, while the Ons Tweede Thuis organisation, which looks after disabled children, is asking parents to take care of domestic tasks such as cooking.

‘A shop can close if they don’t have staff but we can’t,’ a spokesman for the organisation told the paper.

Ageing population

Sector organisation Actiz warns that the letters are a taste of what is to come, as the population ages. ‘We have to ditch the idea that if you need help you can count on professional care,’ a spokesman told the AD.

‘As a society we must first ask what the patient can do, what the family can do, how technology can help and as a final resort, what the care sector can do.’

Care minister Conny Helder has already called for a ‘transformation’ in the long-term care sector by 2040. In particular she wants to focus on helping the elderly look after themselves for as long as possible, in part through the use of technology.

Robots, for example, can be used to dispense pills, while incontinence material with sensors will let staff know when a patient needs attention, she said earlier.

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