It’s not easy deciding which nursing home (or assisted-care facility) would best suit an aging loved one. Unfortunately, often times the person in question is no help at all. For those who find choosing a nursing home too daunting, there are professional services that can help, such as Aidin, Assisted Transition, SilverLiving, and HealthAdvocate.
Here are some things you should consider when taking on this daunting experience
A basic understanding of what you need can drastically reduce the number of places to consider: For example, does your loved one have memory loss? If so you’ll want to decrease your choices to only those with memory-loss units and programs. Do they like to socialize and take part in activities? If they like such things, you’ll want to find a place with appropriate programs.
Ask around for referrals. Ask the staff at your loved one’s doctor’s office or social workers at your local hospital or home-care agency where they would choose for their parents. Ask friends, co-workers, people at church or other organization you belong to. Attend a local caregiver support group and ask the family members to recommend a place.
Inquire about the agency that oversees eldercare in your state.
Will your state’s public programs cover the bill – does your loved one qualify? Find out what’s included in your monthly fee: they can add up quickly, especially if services are a la carte. For example, make sure the basic fee covers essentials like three meals a day.
A few productive questions to ask about the key medical and safety issues that nursing homes are responsible for. These may be depressing to think about, but your elderly loved one has fragile health already, and needs to be in a protected and sanitary environment:
· How does the facility rank for their patients’ falling rate?
· Where do they rank with nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infections?
· What does the institution do to prevent the spread of staph infections?
· What’s their policy toward preventing patient-to-patient infections?
· What’s their record of maintaining patients’ ideal weight?
How does the facility handle staffing shortages? Some facilities will use an agency which is not the best way to handle a shortage because the agency staff will be unfamiliar with resident needs. Some facilities will have administrative staff (those who are nurses) take a shift. Be sure to understand how shortages are handled – they will occur.
Narrow the number of facilities to see down to 3-5 facilities after considering your needs, as well as costs, ratings and referrals. If you hear a facility is great from more than one person, put it at the top of your list.
Visit the facility unannounced: Are they receptive to unannounced visits? If they welcome you, ask for a tour, take notes, and meet the staff. Keep visiting once you’ve made your choice. Drop-in visits at varying times of day and night, and active questions about care plans, let the staff know that you care.”
There’s no point in feeling overwhelmed: you only have to take this one step at a time. And now you know some of the important steps.