Thomas Edward Gass. Nobody's Home: Candid Reflections of a Nursing Home Aide. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY. 2004. 189 Pages. $11.21 from Amazon.
Ever wonder what happens inside a nursing home? In Nobody's Home, a nursing home aide shares his unique perspective on life in a long-term care facility.
The author, Thomas Gass, has worked in a nursing home for three and a half years, first as a nursing aide and then as director of social services. Not a typical nursing home aide, Gass has a psychology degree and became an aide after caring for his ill mother and deciding he wanted more meaningful work. He offers one person's experience on life in a privately owned, for-profit facility.
In a book filled with stories, Gass provides portraits of each of his patients, allowing us to get to know them and their individual quirks. He explains how feeding and bathing is done and describes the interactions between residents. His stories give a well-rounded picture of what life is like inside the nursing home for both residents and workers, and his affection for the residents is apparent.
While Gass doesn't draw any conclusions or offer any solutions, he does have criticisms of the current system. He believes that nursing home regulations are not always applied rationally and can lead to overwork. Instead of focusing on forcing residents to eat, for example, Gass believes workers should concentrate on developing meaningful connections with the residents. Nobody's Home is a fascinating read for anyone with a loved one in a nursing home.