Choosing a nursing home requires thoughtfulness and thoroughness.
As loved ones age, they may lose independence in an instant.
Whether through a fall or as the result of an illness, loved ones who enter a hospital may need more care than you can provide when they are released.
In these situations, a nursing home or skilled nursing facility may be required.
According to a recent Kiplinger article titled “Crucial Steps in the Search for the Right Nursing Home,” a facility often must be chosen and a bed secured before release from a hospital.
With this tight window and under the emotional stress of the situation, family members can make a choice without really evaluating their options.
How can you make an informed decision if your loved ones requires care from a nursing home?
Consider the Quality of Care.
Some nursing homes specialize in certain types of care and specific types of residents.
For example, some focus on dementia while other focus on mobility issues.
You should ask the physician of your loved one about the type of care this person will need.
A geriatric care manager may also be able to provide a recommendation and coordinate the transition.
No one expects you to know everything about every nursing home.
It is normal and appropriate to ask questions and to visit or call the prospective nursing home.
Be aware of how well the staff members answer your questions and communicate with you.
If they are poor at this before your loved ones is a resident, they may also be lacking in this area when your loved one lives there.
When talking with providers, feel free to take notes.
It can be helpful for future reference.
Take a Personal Tour.
You should visit the nursing home in person.
It is easier to spot red flags through smells, visuals, and sounds in the physical space rather than through a picture.
You should also be aware how some places are good at putting on a show during scheduled tours.
It may be helpful to drop by unexpectedly to get a more realistic sense of the environment and how staff members interact with residents and each other.
Get Help with Your Search.
Sometimes it can be beneficial to have professional help.
One option is to work with a geriatric care manager.
This individual should be a member of the Aging Life Care Association.
What can a geriatric care manage do?
This person can help you to understand the reputations and financial aspects of each nursing home option.
They can also support and facilitate the move from hospital to facility and can advocate for your loved ones.
By taking these steps, you will be better equipped to find the right nursing home for your loved one.
Reference: Kiplinger (Aug. 18, 2021) “Crucial Steps in the Search for the Right Nursing Home”