Many families face the undesired position that their loved one no longer has the ability to live on their own safely and without assistance. As a result, they are required to find a safe and loving environment and place their trust into the hands of strangers who have competency and training to provide much-needed health and hygiene assistance. But choosing the right nursing facility is not easy. Without proper research and advocacy, making the wrong decision could have serious consequences.
Often times, placing a loved one in a nursing facility is one of the most challenging decisions the family will ever face. The need for a nursing facility often occurs at a time when the loved one is suffering some serious medical crises. Other factors might also be involved that limits the possibility of where the loved one can reside. This is especially important if payments will be made by Medicare or Medicaid that require the facility to be certified. However, other factors are also involved including:
- Location – It is essential to choose the best nursing home that is both convenient and close to most of the friends and family members who will be visiting the facility often. This is because a resident will typically recover faster or live a healthier and happier life if they receive the attention and love from those they love on a consistent basis. In addition, family members and friends that are monitoring the condition of the resident can plan an active role in responding quickly to an emergency or helping with care plans.
- Special Needs – It is essential to choose a nursing home that has the capability of meeting all the special requirements of the loved one. As an example, many nursing home residents require specialized respiratory assistance, which often involves a ventilator. Many special need requirements are only available at specific facilities. Additionally, if the individual is suffering from dementia, he or she may require additional supervision and ongoing assistance to meet their daily needs.
- Obtain References – Whenever possible, it is essential to obtain information about the facility from trusted individuals. References could include immediate family members, friends, relatives, clergy members, ombudsman programs or local groups catering to seniors. Additionally, doctors, hospital discharge professionals and dementia support groups might also have valuable insight of nursing homes to provide quality care in the area. Additionally, speaking with visitors and residents at a nursing facility under consideration can also provide much-needed information.
- Compare Nursing Home Ratings – Many family members are unaware that Medicare provides a nursing home rating system online that can be found at www.Medicare.gov. While the ratings are limited in scope, they often provide extremely useful information that can be used to narrow choices. Avoiding facilities that have a lower rating can go a long way in providing peace of mine to the entire family.
- Sounds in the Environment – Visiting the establishment is a quick way to understand the sounds heard in the environment. Residents that are yelling “help” or constantly moaning maybe be the result of dementia or poor treatment. The sounds in the environment will likely play a leading role in liking or not liking the facility over time, and may have a profound effect on the health and well-being of the loved one.
- A Proper Nursing Staff Ratio – Many facilities that are attempting to increase profitability will overwork their staff or minimize their staffing ratio of nurses to patients. While visiting the facility, ask nurses and nursing assistants if they are required to work double shifts or overtime. If so, this is likely an indicator of short staffing that will directly impact the care provided to the resident.
- Are All Needs Being Met – Finally, inspecting the nursing facility requires a comprehensive understanding of whether the personal care of all residents are being met. This is important because if the loved one is incontinent, it is essential to understand how many times each day the resident will be monitored and diapers changed when required.
Before choosing the best nursing facility, notice the smell, cleanliness and surroundings of the facility. It should have an inviting homelike atmosphere facilitated by a responsive and kind staff who provide the best health, care and hygiene assistance to every resident.