Ann Marie Gallogly
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Readers View (6/17)
“Alzheimer’s – Dementia: Find the Best Nursing Home with Sister Ann” by Ann Marie Gallogly is one of the best resource books I have read on Alzheimer’s and Dementia and finding a nursing home. It is one of the hardest tasks a family will experience other than death, but having some good basic knowledge makes it a bit easier.
The book comes in two parts. The first part talks about what to look for, what is included in staffing, and making a first visit. I found the Pre-visit Information Guide to be most beneficial as it gives detailed information on what to look for when evaluating places. Thoughts on location, décor, activities, and meals are all well-presented and easy to understand. One point the author addresses that many of us do not want to think about, is potential abuse. Many look at the décor and grounds with “Oh this is nice” or “What a perfect place.” She states that we need to be attuned to smells, sounds, appearance of other residents, and activity or lack of with the staff. Where are the residents located? Are they just dumped in a hall or are they actively busy?
The second part of the book is a bit more technical as it draws on the author’s academic background as she presents a history of dementia and “person-centered” care. Readers must remember that the author is from Ireland so it focuses on the European model; however the information is still valuable. One recommendation is to research nursing homes you are considering, and any violations that might have occurred. This information is available on the internet.
Other points the author makes include questions one should ask staff and management (yes management) before and during residency. Some questions include: After a meal, what do residents do? What medications are given that might induce sleep (and why)? What type of therapy is given and how often? What are the certifications of these therapists? What is the staff- resident ratio? What type of training and certification is required and is all the staff trained and certified? One interesting point I had not thought of is the “sundowner syndrome.” This is where individuals pace or wander during the evening hours. Is there a staff member who walks with or monitors the resident and how is that done? What happens if someone becomes violent or aggressive? How is that handled?
The author’s training as a nurse provides excellent support for her thoughts. “Alzheimer’s – Dementia: Find the Best Nursing Home with Sister Ann” by Ann Marie Gallogly is an excellent resource that is well written and detailed, but not written in a way that it is overwhelming, considering placing a loved one in a nursing home or care facility is very hard. Take the time to read this book. Make notes and hopefully, if you are one that has to do this, you will be prepared.