Some loved ones and volunteers think that visiting nursing home residents is a purely social call. They want to remind residents that they are still loved and decrease their loneliness. They want to check on how loved ones are doing in very general ways so they can report back to relatives, church members, colleagues, coordinators, and others about a simple level of patient progress to soften their worries. What they often don’t do, in addition to socializing, is see themselves as healthcare advocates who should be seriously evaluating the quality of residents’ lives in terms of appearance, conversation, environment, interactions with others, and unmet needs. What’s really important is that visitors and volunteers have a clear understanding of their roles as active patient advocates.
(Excerpt from Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes)