Etiquette Concerning the Families
The scene is set.
The person who has perhaps lived in a nursing home for a long time has died. Family members are obviously upset.
Attempts are made to comfort the family. These attempts are logically made by the direct care workers who knew the elderly person best.
Words like, “they were my favorite” are repeated effortlessly and sincerely.
Significantly, this sincerity is not manufactured on the spur of the moment by the nursing home staff that was perhaps with the person in their last moments.
The particular etiquette regarding the survivors of the loved one is also not automatically part of some official guideline. Nutritional guidelines, for example, are typically endorsed by some remote and unemotional agency.
On the other hand, grief is spontaneous.
For these professionals who have dedicated their time to the elderly in the first place, comforting words are a matter of simply expressing who they are as people. They value being considerate; this is why they work at nursing homes.
Etiquette Concerning Nursing Home Workers
In spite of all the dedication they show, however, what happens to the rights and feelings of these direct care workers once their “favorite person” is no longer there?
Are they to be thanked once, and then just ignored?
We should never forget that the last moments of our loved ones were experienced by these direct care workers when we might not have been available at the time. These people became extensions of us when our lives had become very busy.
In this regard, through the recognition of empathy, the scene of nursing home professionals should become our scene. How would we feel if we had experienced the daily hurts and joys of working with the elderly?
The etiquette regarding how we treat these nursing home workers should also not have to depend on an official guideline. It should stem from who we are as people.
Etiquette, or simple politeness, is a universal proposition. It just makes sense.
Practical Thinking and the Process of Grief
Even though a life has ended, the process of grief may linger a long time.
Any practical consideration toward nursing home workers, then, could involve just including them in this process of grief.
To respect the rights and feelings of these direct care workers once a loved one has died, we only have to keep involving them in our lives.
Etiquette is casual. It involves nothing more than inviting a person to have a cup of coffee. This is especially true when they are also involved in their own special process of grief, when they have also experienced a loss.
Through their actions, those who work in nursing homes have proved they are professionals. This professionalism doesn’t end with the death of a loved one.
Any sense of etiquette toward these people, therefore, should always take this dedication into consideration.