Extended nursing, personal or custodial care for individuals requiring those services are provided by nursing homes because of their illness, physical infirmity, or advanced age.
For individuals who have acute illness, Nursing homes are not the primary care facility. Typically, nursing home residents are unable to live independently. Residents often need assistance with day-to-day activities like bathing, getting dressed, eating, and washing their clothes.
In general, nursing homes must obtain a license from a licensing agency in order to operate. A description of and guidelines for Florida nursing homes are contained within Florida Statute Chapter 400-Part II .
One area of ethical concern regarding nursing homes relates to resident privacy. A nursing home is unlike a traditional home setting.
The hospital-like environment of a nursing home can make residents feel as though their autonomy has eroded. Typical complains among residents include that they have lost control over everyday matters such as what they will wear, eat, and watch on television.Such perceived loss of control or autonomy can contribute to depression and feelings of helplessness.
Further, residents might be asked to follow a schedule that is set for them by the nursing home, which can upset their regular routine. This can make the adjustment for a new nursing home resident rather difficult.
Residents might also feel that they lack privacy if they are required to share bedrooms, bathrooms, and common areas. Limitations on privacy can interfere with the resident's ability to maintain control over life activities such as with whom they will socialize and whether they will be sexually active.
Quality of care in nursing homes raises several ethical issues. There can be conflicts between nursing home residents and staff members concerning what constitutes appropriate care. At times, the nursing home staff might misperceive or misinterpret a resident's desires.
This can occur if the decision-making capacity of a disabled elderly resident fluctuates, the staff's attempts to determine the resident's wishes. Grief, confusion, and/or the use of certain medications, for example, can temporarily interfere with a resident's ability to make a decision.
Further, if the staff is not attentive enough to a resident's condition, they might assume that the resident is not capable of making decisions, when in fact the person is capable of doing so.
A resident might struggle with making a financial decision, for example, but maintain the ability to make a decision about his/her health care.