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The importance of a facility hair stylist

February 28, 2011
by Kathleen Mears
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I was surprised to find no beauty shop in this facility upon my arrival last fall. It did not directly affect me because I usually go out to have my hair done. But I have to admit, having one on site is a nice convenience.

Even without a shop in-house, a young stylist came in every month or so to cut the residents’ hair. She usually came on a Saturday or Sunday and cut hair for a couple of hours in the TV room. There was no blow drying or styling done, but at least the residents had a reliable way to stay groomed. I never asked the cost of a haircut and the fees were not posted, so I assumed she did what residents could afford.

When the stylist quit in October, there were rumors she felt she did not make enough to justify her long commute. When the male residents learned she was leaving, some had their hair cut extremely short. But after so many months they are beginning to look scruffy. I have not heard female residents complaining but some of them have been able to get the aides to trim their hair. Some nurses and aides are willing to trim hair or bangs whenever it is needed.

I don’t understand why there is not a beauty/barber shop here. I know most females feel better if there is a beauty shop around. I think it helps center them and reminds them what they used to do. I am sure that some of the men feel the need of a barber as well.

Over the years the cost of haircuts and other services at facility salons have gone up. The stylists at the facility I left last fall charged $12 for a haircut, $20 for hair coloring, and $38 for a perm. Those prices are still lower than the retail market, and I could usually negotiate even lower prices with the stylist depending on what I was having done.

I enjoy getting my hair cut, colored, or permed. It makes me feel better and a bit pampered. It is too bad that some of these residents can’t enjoy that same feeling. I hope before long there will be another stylist whose rates are reasonable, and I am sure when the residents have the opportunity to get a haircut it will make them look and feel much better.

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Comments

Important article. Although some might think this is a blog about "beauty" and superficial things it is about some core issues. Getting one's hair washed, cut and styled provides a form of touch. It is also an opportunity for the client to share stories and life with someone outside of the facility. Having one's hair done is a social and kinesthetic event that leads to well-being. Sharing stories contributes to well being. My 98 year old hospice client doesn't get out of bed much, but she will make the effort to go have her hair done in her facility. She has a sense of pride and it shows. joan@HealingConversationsNow.com

This would fall under a quality care issue or dignity issue. I would think that there is a regulation somewhere about this?? This really is unacceptable.
Maybe the activity director or socail worker could contact a local beauty school to come in??

You are right...look better, feel better.

Kathleen Mears

www.ltlmagazine.com/blog/kathleen-mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...