Most of us don’t want to ever have to consider a nursing home, but sometimes circumstances require their use. Choosing a nursing home for yourself or a loved one is never an easy decision, nor is it one to be taken lightly. As you search for the right nursing home, it helps to do your due diligence and thoroughly research facilities. Even more importantly, you will need to physically see and experience any potential nursing home to learn more and to make the best decision for your family’s situation. Checkout different nursing professions at www.hashtagnursing.com.
- 1 1) Examine Staff Morale
- 2 2) Taste the Food
- 3 3) Spend a Few Hours with the Residents
- 4 4) Observe How Staff Interact with the Residents
- 5 5) Check Out Their Security Measures and Protocol
- 6 6) Know What Your Family’s Special Needs Are
- 7 7) Location, Location, Location
- 8 8) Cost
- 9 9) Doctor’s Appointments
- 10 10) Outdoor Space
1) Examine Staff Morale
Ask the staff what their schedules are like. Ask what their experience has been working at the facility and if they’ve been employed at other facilities, ask for an honest comparison. When you walked the halls, did staff members acknowledge you? Did you get any smiles or hellos? These are signs that should not be ignored. Find out how long employee shifts are and the ratio of staff to residents. Knowing these answers can help you discern just how hard they work or if they are overworked.
2) Taste the Food
Food is something everyone should be able to enjoy. And if your loved one does not like the food being served, then there is definitely going to be a problem. Meet with the executive chef or food coordinator. Talk to the dietician or nutritionist to discuss their philosophy on what they feed the residents. Ask what are mealtime options, how they handle dietary restrictions if they offer snacks, and any other food-related questions you may have.
3) Spend a Few Hours with the Residents
Spending some time with the residents of a perspective care facility for your loved one can be invaluable when you are trying to pick the right nursing home. You can ask as many questions as you want. It’s a good idea to ask about staff interactions, food, recreation and entertainment, and any other concerns you may have. Ask if they have any complaints or concerns about their care or the facility.
4) Observe How Staff Interact with the Residents
Doing this requires a little bit of stealth. In general, we behave better when we know that someone is watching us. So, in order to really see how the staff interacts with its residents, you may want to start volunteering at the facility so you can see what things are really like. Keep your ears and your eyes wide open. Talk to some of the residents and ask about their satisfaction with the care and attention they receive. And should you come across a staff member that seems to go the extra mile for residents, talk to them about your concerns and ask their opinion on how other staff treats residents?
5) Check Out Their Security Measures and Protocol
You’re probably aware of the Silver Alert by now. But if you’re not, it’s a public notification system that alerts American citizens about elderly missing persons, particularly those with mental issues like Alzheimer’s or dementia. If your mother, father, or spouse suffers from a mental disability you definitely want to make sure that the facility has the proper measures in place to handle the unfortunate possibility that your loved one wanders away. Look for a door locking system and cameras in the corridors and the parking lot. These types of security measures can help ensure the safety of residents and provide leads for authorities
6) Know What Your Family’s Special Needs Are
If your loved one is of sound mind, they will probably be happier in a facility that allows them more independence. They can choose what they watch on television, what they eat when they go to sleep and wake up, and when they engage in recreational activities. If you know your family member enjoys a lot of social interaction, you should choose a facility that has a thriving social scene. Social people may do better when there are plenty of people to interact with. But if you are dealing with an introvert or someone who enjoys quiet time, it helps to choose a place that has multiple spots to get away from or designated quiet areas.
7) Location, Location, Location
Where the nursing home is located can make or break the deal. If you have to make a 45-minute drive to see your loved one, it may be problematic for more routine visits. Will other family members and friends be able to make the journey? Is there another family member who lives close to that facility who is willing to help with the check-ins? What if there’s an emergency? These are some questions you may need to consider when making your choice. If you rely on public transportation, you may want the nursing home you choose to be on or very close to a bus route or train station. You may even consider choosing a facility that is in your loved one’s preferred neighborhood. Familiar surroundings are often comforting.
How much nursing home costs for the care of your loved one is going to be a factor. Look into how much of the cost will be covered by private insurance, savings, Medicaid, or Medicare. Long-term care facilities are never free, but you may be surprised to know that some charge residents on a sliding scale or offer income-based pricing.
9) Doctor’s Appointments
Find out how the care facility handles doctor’s appointments. You need to know if transportation is provided or if you will have to arrange a ride yourself. Perhaps the nursing home has a doctor on staff for its residents.
10) Outdoor Space
Sunlight is essential to a healthy life. If your loved one is in pretty good shape, it is likely that they would enjoy being able to spend some time outdoors. A facility that gives their residents access to outdoor spaces and encourages them to use them may be extremely beneficial.
If you’re still having some trouble deciding on the right nursing home, Medicare has a Nursing Home Compare tool that allows you to compare facilities quickly and easily. It also gives each nursing home a rating according to their nursing home health inspection process. But asking a few questions and putting in a little time to properly research your options can make choosing a nursing home less stressful.