How to ----------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------CHOOSE A NURSING HOME
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
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It is vital for your family member that you spend a considerable amount of time researching the nursing home before you send them to the home. Ii is much easier to pick a good home in the beginning than it is to choose a poor home and have to go through the many obstacles to improve the care or try to transfer your family member to another facility. It is important not to judge then nursing home on the basis of a guided tour or the nice furniture and wallpaper in the lobby. You must remember that, especially in a for-profit nursing home, they put a lot of effort in marketing to convince you to bring your family member to their home. The pictures of happy grandmas in their brochures, nice dining rooms and landscaped entrances do not give you an idea of the quality of the basic care that your family member will receive.
There are many ways to go about selecting a nursing home that will be right for you. Besides researching state inspection reports, get word-of-mouth recommendations and look at promotional literature. Nothing is more valuable than the insight you gain from making personal visits. Visit more than one nursing home, and visit more than once. Ask a lot of questions and trust your feelings about the places you visit.
Find out as much as you can about each nursing home. A good way to do this is to talk to:
• The long-term care ombudsman, who visits nursing homes and investigates complaints.
• Doctors, nurses, hospital social workers, clergy and other professional who are familiar with nursing homes.
• Family members and friends of people who live in the nursing home.
• Residents of the nursing homes.
• Nursing home employees, especially nursing assistants, who give 90 percent of the care.
Ask a lot of questions about any nursing home in which you’re interested. Examples:
• Do people you talk to regard this as a good nursing home?
• Has the state licensing agency found an unusual number of violations here/
• Does the home have enough staff, especially nursing assistants, to give residents the care and personal attention they need?
• Are staff friendly, considerate and helpful?
• Are residents treated with dignity and respect?
• Are there a lot of staff changes because workers leave?
• Do staff members do their jobs well?
• Does the nursing home provide the special services your loved one needs?
• Are there always enough linens and other supplies?
• Are families concerned about fee increases or extra charges for supplies or services?
• Is the “quality of life” good such as things as choices of food at meals and which clothes to wear, a homelike environment, and interesting or entertaining activities?
• Does the nursing home have an active resident council? An Active family council?
• Are there some really good things about this facility?
Planning ahead is one of the best ways to ease the emotional stress when seeking a nursing home. If you are helping a relative or a friend find a nursing home, involve them in the process as much as possible. If the person is mentally alert, it is essential that their wishes be considered every step of the way.
By planning ahead and educating yourself and your family about nursing home care and services, it will become a much easier transition when you can no longer put off admitting someone to a nursing home. It will also put the future resident’s mind at ease to know what to expect in the admission process and the first few days in the new home.
• Visit rooms where various therapies and recreational program are held.
• Observe the dining area, beauty salon and the schedules for each.
• Inquire about security measures, especially for residents who have a tendency to wander.
• Ask about facility policies regarding use or installation of telephones, cable television and bringing personal items into the facility.
• Observe how the staff meets with you and how they interact with other residents during your visit (are they respectful, caring and attentive?)
• Observe if the residents are occupied, supervised, satisfied, well groomed and if the rooms are personalized.
• Is the facility free of overwhelming unpleasant odors?
• Is the home clean and well-maintained?
• Do chairs and other furniture seem sturdy, attractive and comfortable?
• It he facility well lit?
• Taste the food, is it good?
• Are the residents who need help eating receiving assistance?
• Are there hand rails in hallways and grab bars in bathrooms?
• Is the temperature comfortable>?
• Do patient rooms have windows?