Choosing the right nursing home for your loved one can be a difficult process. Many factors come into play, including cost, special needs, location, and the level of care. However, one thing is certain – this is an extremely important decision. The happiness and well-being of your loved one is hanging in the balance. The following tips can help you choose the best nursing home for your loved one.
Ask people you know and trust for recommendations: You may have good friends or family members who have information about nursing homes in your area. They may have been researching facilities for an aging parent, or they may have heard another person’s rave reviews (or horror stories) about a particular facility.
Visit multiple facilities: By visiting many different facilities, you will begin to notice specific things that certain facilities have and others do not. If a certain service or feature is important to you (for example, if you would like to have a grocery shopping service), the lack of a particular service may be the deciding factor. Check to make sure the nursing home you are considering has current state licenses, and ask about any complaints or violations.
Choose a facility that’s conveniently located near loved ones: When your loved one is in a nearby facility with convenient visiting hours, it makes regular visits easier and more enjoyable. Some nursing homes also provide transportation to community activities and social engagements. These services will alleviate (or at least reduce) the need for you to be your loved one’s personal taxi service.
Make sure the facility can provide for the unique needs of all residents: No two residents are alike, and many could be suffering from ailments such as dementia. It is important that staff members are trained to work with these specific ailments, and that individual care plans are developed and followed.
Talk with staff: What is the best way to find out if staff are friendly, competent, and seem to enjoy their jobs? Talk to them. Ask them questions such as how long they have been working there, how residents are treated, and whether they like their jobs. While it is true that you cannot put complete trust in what they say, you can often walk away with a gut-feeling about the situation. As part of a larger investigative process, talking to staff can be immensely helpful.
Ask about medical staff and policies: This is an important question. How are routine exams, such as eye exams and dental cleanings, treated? Does the facility have policies surrounding improvement or deterioration of a resident’s condition? Are health care providers on staff to provide emergency care?
Inquire about staffing policies: This is another important question. If you were interviewing people to take care of your children, you wouldn’t want someone with a criminal history. The same precautions should be applied to people taking care of your elderly loved ones. Does the facility perform regular background checks and evaluations? Are there enough staff members on duty at any given time?
Make sure the facility is clean and comfortable: Give special attention to common areas such as bathrooms and kitchen facilities. Look for odors such as mold, garbage, and urine. Do the residents appear clean, well groomed, and happy? Don’t be afraid to ask the residents what they think about the place.
Observe mealtime and activities: Mealtime and activities should be pleasant social experiences for residents. Activities should be creative, well-planned, and offered regularly. Residents should be encouraged to go outside and get plenty of exercise. Meals should be nutritious, and residents with special nutritional needs should be accommodated.
Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC | A Kentucky Nursing Home Abuse Law Firm
Use the above list as a guide when choosing a nursing home for your loved one. Once you’ve chosen the facility, check in with your loved one regularly, inquire about any concerns, and stop in at least periodically to see things for yourself. The vast majority of nursing homes offer excellent care to their residents. Unfortunately, there are exceptions to this rule. If problems arise, we can help. Seth Gladstein is a Louisville, KY attorney who represents victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. Contact us today for a free consultation.