When is it Time For Round-the-Clock Care?
Moving your loved one into a nursing home is never an easy decision, even if it's the obvious best choice for the situation at hand. Many times a move to a nursing home is temporary for rehabilitation. Perhaps your loved one has had surgery or a setback, such as a stroke or heart attack, and needs 24-hour skilled nursing care while recovering. In other cases, a skilled nursing home is a more permanent move. Either way, you'll be happy to know that nursing homes have come a long way in recent years. Many are dedicated to helping elders live fully and with dignity. But there are still some bad apples out there. Here's what you can do to find a loving, caring environment.
Put on Your Detective's Cap
- Use all the diligence you can muster.
- Ask your loved one's doctors for recommendations.
- Talk to the discharge planner at the hospital.
- Ask friends, relatives, work associates.
- Check online resources such as www.healthgrades.com for ratings. (See resources.)
- Visit numerous homes several times, at different times of day, at least once without an appointment.
- Talk to the director of nursing and the director of administration - two key people who are responsible for the quality of care.
- Ask to see a copy of their state licensing and inspection report.
- If possible, include your parent in at least one of the visits.
What Basics Does a Nursing Home Provide?
- Nursing supervision.
- Personal care assistance.
- Housekeeping and laundry services.
- Physical, occupational, and speech therapy.
- Medication monitoring.
- Health assessments, care plans, and reviews. (Ask to be included in these.)
- Scheduled doctor visits or appointments.
What Else to Look For?
Leave your rose-colored glasses at home. Take a long hard look at each nursing home you visit. Is there plenty of staff on duty? Are the residents well cared for and treated with kindness and patience? Is the facility clean? Look for homey touches, such as artwork and plants. What's the menu like? Are there planned activities, such as crafts, games, and entertainment? Listen to your head, your heart, your gut, and of course, your nose.
Once You Decide on a Home...
Before you sign the contract, have your attorney look it over and explain everything to you so you are sure you completely understand the fine print. After you get your loved one moved in and settled, make sure you and other family members visit often. After all, family is the key ingredient that helps make a new environment feel like home.
To learn about paying for skilled nursing and rehabilitation, click here.