Spread Kindness During National Skilled Nursing Care Week Here on the Suncoast
Established in 1967 by American Healthcare Association (AHCA), National Skilled Nursing Care Week (NSNCW) celebrates the essential role that skilled nursing care centers play in providing high-quality 24-hour nursing care to millions of America’s seniors and individuals with disabilities. This year the week is focused on kindness toward the staff that helps ensure the safety and health of so many in skilled nursing facilities every year. You may already have a loved one in a care facility, live in a community yourself, or may need these staff in the future. No matter your situation, kindness can make this vital group of individuals’ tough jobs a bit more manageable.
As we all know, the nursing staff, in general, was taxed to breaking points after the recent pandemic. Handling the mass of patients, the risk of their being exposed to various health detriments, and long periods away from family cause undue stress on these professionals. The nurse shortage has reached a critical issue as many leave this stressful profession. Nursing has been an in-demand profession for years, with nearly every major hospital hiring for one of healthcare’s most important roles. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), on average, around 195,400 openings for registered nurses are projected from 2021-2031. Many of those openings are expected to result from replacing workers who transfer to different occupations or exiting the labor force, such as retiring.
While all nurses are vital to the nation’s healthcare needs, National Skilled Nursing Care Week is a week to recognize those who work in skilled nursing centers serving senior citizens as well as disabled adults, normally in 24-hour facilities requiring a high degree of intervention. Doing something kind for these caregivers could be as simple as a thank you card or maybe a basket of treats to share with the staff of your favorite center. Additionally, advocacy not only for the centers but the staff that might need supplies, legislative help, or other actions you can take. Kindness is something all of us can afford in giving our time or a simple handmade gift, but it goes a long way toward showing respect for these overworked caregivers.
If you are a caregiver, showing kindness to yourself is vital as well. Caring for another adult can be emotionally draining, so finding an activity that gives you joy is important. Play an instrument. Listen to audiobooks. Do a puzzle. In those quiet moments when your loved one does not require help, put down your phone, turn off the TV, and pick up a hobby that you enjoy.
If you recall the rush of positive feelings you experienced the last time you performed a kind act, you would likely agree that kindness feels good. This distinct sense of satisfaction, which ignites the brain’s reward systems, is said to be among the drivers of pro-social behavior in humans. Kindness not only feels good but also does us good. To begin with, connecting with others through kind deeds allows us to meet our basic psychological needs of relatedness and belonging. Performing acts of kindness can also increase life satisfaction, positive mood, and peer acceptance. For the elderly, prosocial behavior can promote longevity. Let’s choose kindness for these vital caregivers this week for all these reasons and more.
Happy Skilled Nursing Care Week, Suncoast!
Photos Courtesy of AHCA, Unsplash