We have discussed the differences between assisted living facilities and nursing homes before. But now that you know it’s time to choose a nursing home, how will you decide which is the right one for your loved one? Here are some important considerations when it comes time to start your journey.
Assess Your Loved One’s Needs
The most important part in this process will be understanding and assessing your loved one’s needs. Nursing homes are best suited for those who can no longer live at home but whose conditions aren’t critical enough to require hospital care. However, they will still need the attention of skilled aides and nurses who should be available 24/7. Speak to your loved one’s physician for recommendations about nursing home facilities and get recommendations for their care.
Do Your Homework
Homework never goes away, and that’s especially true when it comes to healthcare options. Facilities and what they offer can vary widely. Speak to your friends about the care their loved ones are receiving at nursing homes. Browse message boards online. Reach out to colleagues and acquaintances in your community to learn more about the history of a facility. Any nursing home that receives government money – which means those that accept Medicare and Medicaid – must be inspected and certified by the government. At minimum, make sure the nursing home holds a current certification. You will also want a facility close to friends and relatives who can come and visit.
Prepare Your Questions
Always prepare questions for the nursing home facilities you are researching. When you contact them to begin your initial assessment, include questions related to your loved one’s care such as the availability of specialists, daily routines, feeding and care schedules, and other factors.
It may seem obvious, but families who feel overwhelmed may find themselves far down the road in choosing a nursing home without having visited the facility. Always set up at least one visit, preferably two or three. Look for signs that the residents are content and well-cared for. How does the staff treat the residents? Is the facility clean and orderly? Do you see signs that the care the facility advertises is actually available? Are aides and nursing staff present? How often are residents looked in on?
For more tips and additional issues to consider in your nursing home search, read the official government guide to choosing a nursing home facility.