Who Provides the Long Term Care to Our Senior Loved Ones?

You’re visiting your senior loved one in their long term care facility and marveling at all the activity you see. She loves the level of care she is getting and everyone stops in to say hi.

Who are all these people and what are their roles?

It may seem overwhelming at times to know what each person is doing to provide care and how they are advocating for the best care for your loved one.

Each person brings a unique point of view to the well-being of the elderly residents.  This special group of people is known as the interdisciplinary care team.

Members of the Interdisciplinary Care Team

Primary care nurse: responsible for the medical care of your senior; administers all medications and treatments for your senior staying in close contact with the physician.  She or he communicates with you about any changes occurring in your senior’s medical  status.

Nursing assistant: responsible for the day to day care of your senior, helps them to the bathroom, assists them in getting dressed, helps them eat, gets them where they need to go and lovingly provides for their needs even before your senior loved one asks.

Social worker: responsible for the emotional well-being of your senior loved one; this is the elderly resident’s advocate for advance directives, advising you about your senior’s rights and options for care.

Dietitian: responsible for each senior’s nutritional health; tracks their intake of food and fluids, monitors their weights, makes sure the food that is served is appetizing and palatable, ensures that the doctor’s diet prescription is followed and recommends supplements if needed.  She or he works with the speech therapist to be sure that the texture of the food is easy to chew and swallow safely.

Activities Director/Assistants: these people provide stimulating activities to keep your senior loved one active and free from boredom.  They provide books, movies, word search, puzzles, games, bingo, nail polish, newspapers and a wide variety of fun things to add life to their lives.

MDS Coordinator: responsible for creating a plan of care for each resident of an elder care facility, which directs every team member in how to care for your senior loved one.  This is the person who schedules meetings with you and your senior every three months to keep you informed.

Therapists: these people provide skilled therapy services (physical, occupational or speech) to your senior to help maintain their physical function and safety.

There are other people that you will meet in the facility that interact with your loved one in addition to the team.  They include the administrator, director of nursing, housekeepers, dietary staff, facility maintenance staff, and volunteers.  They all are concerned about and have a role in your senior’s well-being.

Each one of these people has a role to play (and sometimes more than one) in the smooth running of their facility and is happy to give comfort and friendship to your senior while meeting their needs.  Get to know these caregivers; they would love to talk with you about your senior and their role in providing care.

These are the people to thank for the great care your loved one is receiving!