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How can I reward Care Home staff

(43 Posts)
dragonfly46 Sat 14-Jul-18 08:49:37

My dad died last night after a fortnight of wanting to go. During that time the staff in the care home where he was have been amazing. They have not only cared for him physically but also mentally. They sat with him, talked to him, washed him and kept his mouth clean and moist. They also supported me at all times. It is not a nursing home just a residential care home.

He was 96 and wanted to go. He had had enough of the hoists, he couldn't hold a pen any more so could not write in his diary or do his puzzles and was disinterested in eating.

I can't really single one person out although of course some of them had more to do with him than others and I am wondering what I can do to show my appreciation apart from a thank you letter of course.

Also my mother is in the dementia unit of the same home and they have not seen each other for about 6 months. Do I tell her he is gone as she will get upset then promptly forget or do I not say anything. Has anyone any experience of this?

Luckygirl Sat 14-Jul-18 09:05:28

So lovely to know that your Dad passed peacefully with good care. It must be a huge relief for you and your family that he has come to the end of his suffering. It is always lovely to hear of homes that go the extra mile and tend to someone who is dying with humanity and dignity.

The residential home where both my parents died cared for them in a homely and loving way; and when Dad's will was dealt with and his legacy freed, we bought this very small home a profiling bed in their memory. Their charges were reasonable and we knew that equipment budgets were tight, so it seemed appropriate.

I do not know whether this would be something relevant to the home where your parents are, or what the financial situation is; but it is worth asking them if there is any piece of equipment (however small) that might help to make the lives of future residents more comfortable - it seemed to us something that our parents would have approved of.

As to telling your Mum about his death - that is hard. It might be kinder to just leave her in peace - unless she usually mentions him, in which case you will need to tell her. But if he seems to have left her mind then I cannot see anything to be gained for her by being told.

Sending condolences to you

MrsAllboys Sat 14-Jul-18 09:55:02

So sorry for your loss. It sounds as if your father had wonderful care which must be a great comfort. The staff will be very happy to receive a warm and appreciative letter accompanied by a large box of chocolates to share. Regarding telling your mother, in the circumstances it would probably be better not to. If her dementia is sufficiently advanced that she would forget then it could well be kinder not to. In my experience telling her would cause pain and grief and although,as you say, she will forget sometimes the residual distress lingers and she will feel unhappy without knowing why. Also as she will forget does that mean you will have to remind her each time she may ask after him ? Which would be like giving her the news for the first time, every time. I think that this is something you will need to discuss with the staff on the dementia unit because if you don't wish your mother be told then they have to be aware and respect your decision. They shouldn't find it difficult as they will be experienced and skilful. This is still a very raw and sad time for you, so take care of yourself. Am sending [flowers to you and your family.

Nannarose Sat 14-Jul-18 10:34:52

For thank yous, if thinking of spending a fair amount, ask the home what they would like. Or just send a nice basket of goodies for staff to choose something to take home. My Dad gave a Boots voucher to each staff member, but that meant everyone got the same, however much or little they had to do with my Mum.

About your mum:
Make the decision based on the kind of people your parents were, how they would have liked things to be handled, and discuss with close family & care home staff. Everyone will be different.

Slightly different scenario in the care home during my mum's dementia: I was helping her in the bath, when she looked up at me and said "I'm not going to get any better am I?".
Split second decision, I said "No, you won't get any better, but we love you and will look after you".
She nodded and hugged me.
Afterwards the staff member said to me "We don't usually tell them that". I replied that:
I knew how my parents had tackled difficulties in their lives and how they liked to do things.
Her eyes looked clear - usually during the dementia they looked 'muddy', but in that moment I saw my Mum shining through and she deserved honesty.
I also said that I hoped I hadn't made any difficulties for them, but actually she never mentioned it again, although I felt from then, that we both understood the score.

I wish you all the best.

Melanieeastanglia Sat 14-Jul-18 11:02:49

Perhaps offer to buy a piece of equipment for the home or, if you prefer, something for the staff room which the staff can use. Maybe a donation towards their Christmas staff "do" if they have one.

As for telling your mother, perhaps you could ask the staff for advice. I am not certain but suspect it may be kinder to not tell her unless she directly asks you.

dragonfly46 Sat 14-Jul-18 12:05:44

Thank you for all your good wishes. I discovered when I went up to the home today that they are having a fete today and as my dad enjoyed a glass of wine I had about a dozen of his bottles over which I have donated. We have also donated his three wheeler, his TV and stand and tippy up chair so they are thrilled.
I will not tell my mum - I discussed it with the home manager and he agreed.

stella1949 Sat 14-Jul-18 12:08:31

1) Chocolates and a nice letter is all that is needed.

2) I wouldn't tell her. She'd keep "half-remembering" and then you'd end up having to tell her the same sad story over and over - distressing for her and for you. I'd leave it alone. If she hasn't seen him for 6 months and has advanced dementia , it's the kindest thing to let it go. If she starts talking about him, you can just talk about him in the present tense until she drifts off onto another subject.

I'm sorry for your loss xx

sodapop Sat 14-Jul-18 12:08:47

Good to hear such positive comments about the care your father received dragonfly
It must be a great comfort to know his last days were passed with dignity and kindness.
I agree with other posters, tell your Mum only if she asks directly and don't keep going over it if she asks again, that's distressing and unnecessary.
You have my sympathy flowers

grannyactivist Sat 14-Jul-18 12:30:34

Staff in my care home are always delighted to receive a card saying 'thank you'. As Chaplain to a Care Home I see more than most how deeply affected the staff are when a resident dies and it means a lot at that time if their care is remarked upon. For obvious reasons it is not appropriate to impinge on the family's grief with exhibitions of their own, but many staff go home and have a good cry following a death.

MiniMoon Sat 14-Jul-18 12:42:45

During my time working in a nursing home I found that all the staff were touched by a letter of thanks to the staff. They were pinned to a board in the staff room for all to read. As for a gift, what you have already given will be ample. Boxes of chocolates tend to be consumed by the day staff, and the night staff miss out.
I'm so pleased that your Dad had a good death, the way he wanted to go. Please accept my sincere condolences.

M0nica Sat 14-Jul-18 12:49:25

My father was in hospital for the last 3 months of his life and was wonderfully cared for. My sister and I decided to make a donation to the hospital and asked that it be spent in a way that benefited the staff. The hospital wrote back saying that the building of a new wing had resulted in a courtyard garden that would be used by staff, patients and visitors and suggested the money we donated could be spent on a table and bench. We readily concurred.

We also wrote to the ward thanking them for their care and saying what we had done.

OldMeg Sat 14-Jul-18 13:23:13

I remember your previous posts about your father.

Sometimes the simplest ‘thank you’ is the best. A carefully worded card can mean a lot and, yes I know it’s not very original or healthy, but a nice box of special chocolates for them to have with a cup of tea during their break.

Also, if they have a website or FB page, a good, genuine review can boost moral.

OldMeg Sat 14-Jul-18 13:25:02

Good point about day staff eating the chocs. Two boxes then clearly labelled ‘Day Staff’ and ‘Night Staff’ ,

kittylester Sat 14-Jul-18 15:07:47

When Mum died we went slightly overboard with some flowers and a selection of Thornton's chocolates as well, of course, as a nice letter. They really were brilliant. We also gave Mum's favourite carer a cash gift as she had gone out of her way for Mum. For instance, she gave up a day off to take Mum to my niece's wedding and wouldn't accept any money for it. Mum was often horrid to her (and most other people!!) but she was wonderful with Mum.

I agree with the others. It would serve no purpose to tell your Mum about you Dad. If she asks I would ask what she wants him for and could you do whatever it is instead. Don't lie but you don't need to tell the complete truth either. There is evidence that moods linger long after the memory of something has faded so your Mum could be sad for quite a while without knowing why. The converse it true too - happy memories last even if the cause is forgotten.

cornergran Sat 14-Jul-18 15:27:14

dragonfly just to say how wonderful to hear such good things about a nursing home and how wonderful that your Dad, and you, were cared for so well. flowers.

BlueBelle Sat 14-Jul-18 15:42:21

dragonfly I m sorry to hear about your Dad but we all get to a point where we ve had enough he sounds as if he had good care and a long life
When my Dad died I did not tell my mum, they had been parted by her alzheimers and needing to be in residential care for some years she stopped recognising him then he wasn’t very strong and stopped being able to visit and she never asked in fact by that time she wasn’t even talking only gobbledegook Mum died out of the blue six months later I m sure she was saying don’t go anywhere without me so my advice on that one is don’t tell her
I think what you ve given the home already is a lot and agree with others a nice card with sincere words and maybe some chocs
Thoughts with you x

Jane10 Sat 14-Jul-18 15:50:23

A letter of course to convey your deep appreciation of the care and compassion shown to your Dad and the family.
In the past I've sent Thorntons hampers for staff to share. They contain lots of individual bags and boxes of chocs and treats - something for everyone to either consume at work or take home.

dragonfly46 Sat 14-Jul-18 15:51:39

Thank you - you are all so kind x

grandtanteJE65 Sat 21-Jul-18 13:11:18

My condolences. I too agree that unless you Mum asks where your Dad is, don't tell her. If she still has moments of clarity and asks if he has died, then the honest answer is probably best, but do, please, talk to her carers now and ask whether she ever remembers your Dad.

A local paper might be willing to take a positive review of the home and their devoted nursing of your dying father.

You could ask whether they need people to come and visit inhabitants who don't have family that comes, if you feel up to it.

Humbertbear Sat 21-Jul-18 16:58:28

We once bought the staff of a ward in Hospital a basket of mini toiletries from Body Shop so they could all pick what they wanted. My husband spent 9 days in ICU and we realised that they were desperate for CD players , so we bought them two.

notanan2 Sat 21-Jul-18 21:17:46

Sorry for your loss, glad he had a "good" send off x

You say you cant single out staff... but if you COULD name individual staff it'll mean more than any gift, but also sadly these things are counted/audited so you would be doing them a massive favour by naming them. Also CC in the "big boss"

Jaycee5 Sun 22-Jul-18 09:17:48

dragonfly I wouldn't tell your mother. My father's wife keeps forgetting that her son died and wonders when he will be visiting. She wouldn't remember a lie so I think she might as well be told that he is busy for now. Unfortunately he has never really understood kindness.
How often would you want to tell your mother? She would be mourning him anew every time.
You could give the Home a positive review on line. They are probably on Trustpilot or similar and they would get an email so they would know. It is always nice to be thanked and appreciated but it is especially nice to know that people will tell others how much they thought of you.

peaches50 Sun 22-Jul-18 09:22:54

I used to visit my sister's home while she was alive and cook them all a meal. When she passed they were all invited to the funeral (20) and lunch at the local Chinese buffet and it was lovely to see them part of the family as they were for her for so long.
At Christmas we gave bottles of wine, and a garden set of chairs and table under her favorite tree so we could all remember her. I went back for a time and often the staff did their paperwork under S's tree. Im glad your dad had such loving care, and wish your Mum a peaceful end to her days too. flowers

jenni123 Sun 22-Jul-18 09:59:06

My parents ended up in the same care home, mum had dementia. Dad died before her and we did tell her, her eyes filled with tears for about 5 seconds then she was OK. several times in the following year (she died 11 months after dad) she would say things like, 'don't sit there', when I asked why?, she said 'it's dad's chair he has gone to get a paper. We didn't know whether to keep reminding her dad was no longer here but in the end decided not to. When Mum was dying, we sat with her for 3 days and I wrote a poem, the owner of the home asked if he could have a copy of it, so I took it to a calligrapher and then got it framed, 15 years on that still hangs in the reception hall of the care home .

Mauriherb Sun 22-Jul-18 10:01:03

Firstly I would like to send my condolences x . When my dad died we gave the staff a couple of boxes of chocolates to share, also a flower arrangement for the office but we also gave them a cheque as they were often fundraising for extra things.
Our mum had dementia so we gently told her that dad had died , but she thought we meant her dad. After that, whenever she asked where he was (which wasn't often) we just told her he was sleeping. The reason for this was if she had understood she would have grieved every time which would have been cruel . I'm so sorry for your loss xx