Nursing homes mislead the end user by promoting “private rooms.” Misleading because, in fact, that only means the room has a door on it. There is no privacy unless those that have access respect the sanctity of privacy.
I have been a resident of Sitter and Barfoot Veterans Care Center for three years and most of that time “privacy” has been a condition that has had to be regularly requested and often denied. Only after three years do I have a modicum of real privacy.
Constant guidance and reinforcement have resulted in acceptance of my desire for privacy. If someone wishes access to my “home,” they knock and ask for permission before entering; it is an essential of courtesy, dignity, and respect. Still, I still have a few that just knock and open the door; much to my displeasure.
Not asking for permission has resulted in friction between me and factions of employees. Some staff members think that I am here for their convenience. The reality is that they are here for my benefit, and they are to adhere to my expectations of privacy.
I have had doctors, staff, and registered nurses just enter my room whether the door be opened or closed. They have been met with displeasure.
Employees of nursing homes should be treated no differently than the contractor you hired to cut your grass, clean your pool, fix your plumbing or the cable guy. You would not expect someone you hired to come to your home and interrupt your dinner nor would you expect them just to walk into your house without knocking. The nursing home staff works for the resident and is hired to perform a service. It is no different. It is a matter of respect.
Unlike life outside a nursing home, once inside you have to demand respect. Nursing homes have the mistaken view that the resident is there for their benefit, not the other way around. Nursing homes control meals, medication, and comfort. Privacy is the last remnant removed from the control of the resident.
Nursing homes will attempt total control of the resident in any fashion they can. However, privacy is not their domain. Privacy is one area that the resident has control, and it should be made clear to the nursing home from the beginning.
Private rooms are not private if everyone one has unfettered and uncontested access.