A Video about Quality of Life in Long-Term Care

by Judith Keller, creator of Rose by Any Other Name
"Oh Joe, how did this happen?"

"Are you sure you belong here?"

"I don't take a pink one and a yellow one."

"If it's Tuesday, it must be meatloaf."

"Physical Therapy said I can't come anymore."

And the Home of the Brave is the story of Lillian Ross, an 84-year-old, ailing widow, on her first day of admission to a nursing home. She quickly learns about institutional living: her possessions are reduced to a handbag and a suitcase; she is assigned a room with a stranger; her first encounters with caregivers are uneasy; and in the dining hall, among other residents, she finds personal contact just as elusive. Through it all, Mrs. Ross struggles to maintain her dignity and a measure of control over her life. In the end she breaks through the isolation.

And the Home of the Brave is about relationships. Important relationships directly affect the quality of our lives. For nursing home residents, the important relationships, after family, are those with caregivers and peers. A good relationship between a resident and a caregiver makes for better care. A good relationship between roommates contributes to a comfortable living arrangement. There are no villains and no heroes. Residents struggle to maintain control over their lives and staff try to provide humane care.

And the Home of the Brave provides sensitivity training for caregivers and students of gerontology and is a tool for teaching residents' rights. Staff are stimulated to discuss their issues, such as working with difficult residents, handling the death of a resident, coping with staff shortages and overwork. For residents, the video triggers discussion of the continuous process of adjustment and the development of strategies for coping with congregate living.

And the Home of the Brave serves as a springboard for discussion in groups, classes, and workshops. The story is told from the residents' point of view. There is enough humor for residents and staff to recognize themselves comfortably.

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