Feeling wary about choosing the right nursing home for your loved one? Well, this WellnessKeen post pinpoints the factors to consider when looking for a good nursing home for yourself or your loved one.
According to the federal 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law, a nursing home is required to provide a quality life to its residents while ensuring their dignity, choice, and self-determination.
While choosing a nursing home for yourself or your loved ones, there are innumerable things that need to be taken into consideration before finalizing the new place of residence. When you are helping a person find a suitable place, learn that your support is a must to help the person adjust with the new surroundings and overall living. There are two most important things to keep in mind while choosing a nursing home for another person – focusing on the needs and preferences of the person, and involving the concerned individual in your discussions.
All nursing homes are not certified, and if you want to lead a quality life, it is extremely important to inquire about the certification of the nursing home that you have at the top of your preference list. Once you’re assured about the authenticity of the nursing home, you must also be aware about certain rights and protections that an individual staying in a nursing facility is entitled to. These include the right to be informed, make your own choice, and right to privacy. Along with these rights come a set of responsibilities that enhance your living in the nursing facility.
Choosing a Skilled Nursing Facility
Consider the Cost
For many families, cost is a major concern when choosing a good nursing home for the elderly. To make it easier on the pocket, try to keep the person at home for a longer period, and get a long-term care insurance. You can also check out for the facilities that your state’s Medicare/Medicaid program provides for financially weak families.
Do the Research and Collect References
Your contacts will be of great help while researching for the best nursing home for your loved one. Ask your friends, relatives, or community members, and gather a first-hand account of their experience. Apart from your social circle, you can also visit state government websites to get detailed information about certain specific nursing homes.
Make a Visit to Potential Nursing Homes
Once you have jotted down the basic information about the five best nursing homes in your area, visit all of them and take notes. Observe the place very carefully and make a note of every good and bad thing about every nursing home. In the end, when you are back home, sit and compare all five nursing homes with respect to your points, and choose the best one amongst them. After that, pay a final visit to the chosen facility and make a detailed observation of the place.
Be a Keen Observant About…
… the Food
It can be one of the most important factors in preventing your loved one’s health from deteriorating. While on your visit, check the appearance, taste, and smell of the food to determine its quality. Furthermore, even if you feel the food is okay, your loved one may not like it and refuse/avoid eating. In such a situation, talk to the administration about it, and inquire if you can bring meals from home.
Each resident should receive an individual visit by the dietitian at the beginning to assess their diet. Many elderly people are unable to maintain an ideal weight, and remain underweight most of the time. The dietitian plans certain dietary supplements along with the food to fulfill the nutritional requirements of the person.
… any Unusual Odor
Nursing homes do emit a typical odor of medication and disinfectant. However, if you notice an unusual smell lingering throughout the premises, know that the place is not cleaned properly and the staff may be compromising on cleanliness and overall hygiene. Get a detailed account of the cleanliness routine carried out in the nursing home, and give suggestions if necessary.
… the Staff
Observing the nursing staff will give you an idea about how your elderly family member is likely to be treated in the nursing home. Also, the number of nursing personnel can indicate the amount of personal attention a resident is likely to receive. No matter how good the individual employees are at their work, if they are less in number, it is going to affect the care and attention that the residents receive. Ask about the total number of personnel, and how are they divided into various shifts.
The eligibility of the staff is also a major concern while selecting a nursing home. A nursing home should have licensed nurses and nursing assistants to look after the residents and their daily care.
… the Population
Less residents equals better care. Therefore, ensure that the nursing home is not overcrowded with residents. The population of the nursing home is a major factor that determines the quality of food and other facilities provided to its residents.
Ask Your Questions
Along with making observations, it is also important to communicate with the nursing staff. This will help you get a better understanding of the working of the nursing home, as well as know about the way they deal with residents and visitors. If the person-in-charge shows keen interest, and answers all your questions in a positive way, it means the staff is good in dealing with residents and their relatives. You can ask questions like:
► What are the activities that are planned for the residents?
► Are the special needs of a person being addressed?
► Are there any tours or workshops for the residents being organized by the nursing home?
► How does the home deal with natural disasters, or day-to-day problems like power loss or water scarcity?
► How does the staff handle a person’s unusual behavior?
If your loved one prefers living in their own home, try to look for alternatives, like home care, day care, or assisted living, before planning for a nursing home. This is to reemphasize the fact that the needs and preferences of the person in question should be given topmost priority while choosing a nursing home or facility.