Year an estimated 2.1
Million older Americans are
victims of physical, psychological, or
other forms of abuse and neglect. For
every case of elder abuse and neglect reported
to authorities, experts estimate that there
may be as many as 5
cases not reported. Research
suggests that elders who have been abused
tend to die earlier than those who are
not abused, even in the absence of chronic
conditions or life threatening disease"
Elder Abuse and Neglect: In Search of Solutions
American Psychological Association
From: Aileen Avenido, R.N.
Thursday, 4:52 p.m.
Dear Concerned Family Member,
take a moment of your time and read this letter
If you are currently
searching for a nursing home OR currently
have a loved one in a long term care facility,
then this may be the most
important letter you will ever read!
may even help you save your loved one’s life!
I remember the
first time I stepped into a nursing home. It was
nothing like I had pictured. Yes…there
were some residents that were in bed and not very
mobile. However, I was surprised by how many residents
were still very active both physically and mentally.
It was an amazing sight to see and a big eye opener
for me. I guess I always had the ignorant thought
in my head that nursing homes (also known as Long
Term Care Facilities) were a place where “old” people
simply go to die.
I quickly found
that many of these nursing home residents were
eager to share vivid stories about their lives.
It became very important for me to learn more about
them. I truly believe these experiences helped
me to become a better nurse and caregiver…as
well as a better person in general.
As I was attending school to become a Registered
Nurse, I volunteered in a nursing home and started
working as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).
As a CNA, I did a lot of the hands on care of getting
residents dressed, taking them to the bathroom,
and giving showers. That type of work was physically
demanding but the interaction with the residents
was very rewarding.
Experiencing first hand the hard work of a CNA,
gave me a true understanding of the physical, mental,
and emotional demands required to provide nursing
care to the elderly.
nursing career, I’ve
worked almost every position possible in the nursing
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
Assistant Director of Nursing (ADON)
Director of Nursing (DON)
reached a point in my nursing career
a decade later) when I asked myself, “What
could I do, outside of being a nurse, where I
could gain a better understanding of the needs
of nursing home residents and their families?”
I figured I had done just about everything I
possibly could do up until that point as a caregiver.
But despite my years of experience working with
the elderly and their families, something was missing.
Everything I knew was coming
from the perspective of being “the nurse”.
I knew how to professionally take care of them
but I didn’t personally know how it felt
to be the family member on the “other side”.
I had never had a close family member live in
a nursing home. I couldn’t possibly understand
the viewpoint of a concerned family member because
I had never “walked in their shoes”.
So, I looked into becoming a Legal Guardian for
nursing home residents that didn’t have anyone
speaking up for them. This opportunity (something
I am passionate about still to this day) really
opened my eyes to see things from the “family
members” side. I was no longer a nurse…I
was now the concerned family member.
As their Legal Guardian, I am responsible for
the exact same things that I had many times before
(as a nurse) addressed with previous family members.
Now as a family member, I am personally dealing
with issues like:
* Making sure staff is taking good care of my
* Addressing any concerns with the nursing home
* And unfortunately, the toughest of all - End
of Life Decisions
I now know what
it's like to be that family member. It's so much
easier to empathize with the roller coaster of
emotions like fear, frustration and pain that many
of us experience from having a loved one in a long
term care facility.
I have learned so much from being a veteran long
term care nurse,
as well as a Legal Guardian for
nursing home residents.
I now wanted to take my dedication for nursing
home residents to
where this guide comes in.
her insightful and enlightening book, "Nursing
Home Secrets Revealed", Aileen Avenido,
RN, has done everyone who may need long-term
care a tremendous service. We
certainly wish we would have had this
fact-filled resource when we were making
life changing decisions on our parents'
behalf. Aileen's savvy and
practical advice eliminates the gut wrenching
fear and anxiety each family member feels
when confronted with such decisions. Her checklists
alone are worth many times the cost of
the book and will save thousands
of dollars for anyone making a long-term
care decision. As practioners and
consultants with a combined total of 35
years in the healthcare field, we strongly
and without reservation endorse Aileen
Avenido and the wonderful resource she
has compiled for those folks and their
family members who are considering entering
a nursing home or assisted/independent
Strakal PT, MBA, CAE
- Dr. Dan Strakal
I realize that
nursing homes are a necessity for many families
in our society today and no matter what the opponents
of nursing home care say…
are here to stay.
I also know that
there are a lot of good nursing homes where
proper care of the residents
the number one priority.
I've also found that there are nursing homes
out there with different priorities. Quality care
often takes a back seat to the financial BOTTOM
It is much more
difficult than one might think to distinguish between
the good and bad. The complex
world of nursing homes is something that took me a while to figure
I can understand why so many people make
Early in my nursing
career, I truly thought as their caregiver, I would
be able to sit at my patient’s
bedside and spend time with them to provide the
physical and emotional support they needed or to
help them live normal active lives. However, I
quickly found out that being a nurse consisted
of a whole lot more. There was much more to it
than delivering medications and talking to doctors.
As I worked my way up into executive roles, I began
to see things in another light.
The reality is that there are undisclosed issues
like insufficient staffing, poor care, abuse and
theft that occur in nursing homes across the country
every single day, even in those that the Department
of Health has cleared as being “SAFE” environments
for your loved one.
if YOU don’t have the insider
knowledge about what truly goes on in nursing homes,
then your loved one is truly at risk.
Having worked as a Registered Nurse for many years
in the nursing home industry, I have been able
to see things from the inside that most residents
and families just don’t see. Now when things
come up with MY loved
ones that I have to address as their Legal Guardian,
I am able to make educated and informed decisions
due to my professional experience. I realize not
every family member is fortunate enough to have
this same “inside perspective”.
That’s EXACTLY why I’ve written this
book. I want to educate family members on all the
ins and outs of nursing homes so that they are
able to weed out the good
from the bad and to be
able to take a proactive approach with the care
of their loved one in any nursing home environment.
best way for you to protect your loved one is
to be INFORMED!
After reading my guide, you will know what to
look for in a quality nursing home, as well as
know what questions to ask staff and what things
you can do to stay involved in their lives.