Nursing homes are struggling to keep their patients happy and safe in a world increasingly dominated by social media and technology.
And it’s a problem the government is trying to solve.
As the economy slows, the federal government is looking at ways to give nursing homes more resources to keep patients healthy and comfortable, even as the numbers of nurses, family nurses and home health aides dwindle.
On Wednesday, the government announced a plan to make nursing homes less reliant on the social media platform Twitter and Facebook to keep the staffs and patients happy.
In fact, the plan would also provide some nursing homes with the resources to help them build their social media presence, a step that some nursing home officials say is important to make it easier for patients to keep up with the latest nursing news.
“The social media is not going away,” said Linda DeGroot, the chair of the Canadian Nursing Home Association.
“It’s just going to be more targeted and it’s going to go through a different set of people.”
DeGroots said she hopes the government will find a way to help nursing homes that aren’t used to having a presence on social media.
But she said the government has not given her a specific number for how many nursing homes would have to scale back their social networks.
“They have not indicated to me that they’re going to take that step,” she said.
“I think the answer is it’s up to the government.”
Nursing homes will need to figure out a way around the government’s plan to give more social media resources to nursing homes, she said, adding that she believes that’s going too far.
“You can’t say, ‘You have to give them more social, because they’re not going to use it.'”
The new plan is part of the federal Government of Canada’s plan, which was announced in the spring, to give families more options for socializing and interacting with their nursing home patients.
In the first phase, the proposed new plan would give families an extra week of paid time off each month for each patient they have at home, and also give them the ability to use social media in their care.
The proposed new proposal would also give nursing home staff and patients more choice in what they post on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
The proposed new social media rules would also allow family nurses to be trained to post updates on their own personal Facebook pages and on social network sites like Twitter.
“The nursing home is the first in our family to be allowed to do this,” said DeGRoot, who is also a member of the National Nurses United national nursing union.
DeGroot said she would like to see more government resources to allow families to take advantage of social media platforms, but she said she also believes that it’s important for the government to step up to help.
“In this day and age, it’s not enough to just have a social media campaign,” she explained.
“We’ve got to be able to help the family be part of their own lives.
I don’t think it’s fair that people who have to take care of our own needs, or our own families, can’t have a voice.”
The plan comes at a time when the number of nurses in the Canadian nursing home industry has declined sharply over the past decade, according to the nursing association.
In 2006, the number was less than a third of the population.
The number has since grown to over 30 per cent, and is forecast to grow to over 45 per cent in 2025.
A study published in June by the Canadian Institute for Health Information showed that the average number of hours nursing home residents work per week has declined to 8.2 hours, and that more than half of the nursing home beds are occupied by family nurses.
According to DeG Root, the increased reliance on social networking and the lack of a workplace safety net means that nursing homes are not always able to keep residents safe.
“The nursing homes can’t do what’s needed to keep people safe, and they’re still not equipped to deal with these things that are going on out there,” DeG root said.
While nursing homes may be struggling financially, DeGrees said it is important for nursing home families to know what’s going on around them, as well as the resources they have.
“If you’re not getting enough nursing care and you’re just not getting the services you need, you’re going have a hard time.”
De Groot said the nursing industry needs to learn from its past mistakes, and start building an industry that works for all of the families in its care.
“What we’re trying to do is not make it difficult for nursing homes to be profitable,” she noted.
According to De Groot, nursing homes need to create their own networks and help each other better connect with their communities.
“Nursing homes have to be accountable for their communities,” she added.