6 Things To Consider When Shortlisting A Nursing Home

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Many people don’t even want to think about living in a nursing home at first. However, nursing homes are ideal for providing high-quality care to our elderly loved ones, as family members may not be available 24 hours a day.

According to a recent study, around half of all older adults will stay in a nursing home at least once. Even though it’s a stark reality, try not to let it get to you. If you spend time researching nursing homes, you can make an informed decision regarding the best long-term care facility for you or your loved one.

The importance of picking a safe facility for seniors

A well-maintained assisted living facility provides seniors with an environment that makes them feel less isolated and less depressed. With people their age around them, older adults will have a sense of community and active social life that can energize and empower them. Nonetheless, it is important to do thorough research and watch out for some signs before you select an assisted facility.

If you aren’t careful in addressing this issue, you may accidentally send your loved one to an inadequate, unsafe facility. Besides negligence of residents, some nursing homes don’t hesitate to inflict physical, verbal, or financial abuse. Living there, your elder could go into severe depression or financial loss. In addition, you may need to face court trials, take help from nursing home abuse lawyers, or deal with hospital bills before you can finally put your loved one back in a safe environment. Not to mention the incurable loss of trust you and your loved one will have to deal with. To save yourself and your loved one from this horror, you must do thorough research.

Things to consider when shortlisting a nursing home

Whether you are looking for long-term care for yourself or a loved one, the following key points will assist you in making an informed choice:

  1. Check the ratings 

It is important to pay attention to the ratings when choosing nursing homes. Even though both state and federal agencies regulate nursing homes, there are still some bad apples. Doing a little research online can help you identify nursing homes with poor care reputations.

The CMS and Medicare.gov page lists the overall ratings of nursing homes in the United States, including their health inspection ratings. 

Also, ask for word-of-mouth referrals if you can. Inquire about local nursing homes from your neighbors, family, friends, and doctors. Nothing can replace inside knowledge, even if a facility looks good on paper.

  1. Consider the size and location of the facility

Location is another important factor to consider. A person who needs care will want to be close to their family as much as possible. However, if you’re considering nursing homes for a family member, check whether you can visit them often. Even though a 45-minute drive seems reasonable at first, you should consider what it feels like after an exhausting day at the office. 

If the facility is not near you, ensure it’s close to a trustworthy family member who can assist your loved one. A nursing home’s size is also crucial. 

People who need care should receive care based on their unique personalities and preferences. You can pick something to meet the needs of any person, no matter how quiet or outgoing they are. If possible, ask them where they feel most comfortable. It may also be a good idea to ask the facility if there are any easily accessible and safe outdoor areas where your elder can walk. No matter if the elder likes quiet or enjoys company, spending some time with nature appeals to everyone.

  1. How effective are their services?

Ask your prospective nursing home about the types of health care they offer.

It is important to provide residents with certain services to meet their specific needs, but other services are equally important to improve their quality of life. For example, if the residents eat in their rooms or a communal dining room. Ask if the residents are satisfied with the food and dining experience. Besides mealtime, other ways to improve the residents’ experience include

  • the availability of a specialty care unit for dementia patients
  • a good physical activity program
  • individual resident care plans
  • on-site non-emergency medical services (dialysis)
  • transportation for medical appointments
  • the availability of special mattresses that are comfortable for bedridden patients
  1. Staff manners

In a nursing home, the staff members’ professionalism, expertise, and attitude ensure your loved one’s safety. Before making a decision, ask questions and observe the staff.

As you observe, look for staff who exhibit skilled nursing care and personal care and demonstrate a caring, respectful, and polite manner with the residents. Additionally, you can observe whether staff members knock on doorways before entering residents’ rooms and if they address them by name.

  1. Residents’ right to choose and independence

Most people are nervous about moving into a nursing home. Often, they feel they won’t be able to make their own decisions. Although it is true that they can’t do some things they used to do, residents should be able to control some aspects of their lives as long as they are mentally competent.

Before choosing a facility, ask for their opinion. What side-dish do residents want to eat, what activities they want to participate in, what shows do they want to watch, etc. You don’t want to put a mentally healthy individual in a facility that controls every move they make while receiving treatment.

  1. Don’t ignore the warning signs

Now that we’ve covered some of the most important aspects of choosing a nursing home, we can move on to the next step. 

What are the most important things to keep an eye on? Here are some red flags that poor nursing homes tend to exhibit:

  • Violations of serious nature

There are likely to be minor violations for most care facilities you choose, but the extent of violation matters a great deal. For example, allowing residents to wander off campus could put them in danger, which would constitute a serious violation. 

  • A lack of competence or inaccessibility on the part of administrators

The nursing home administrator is not only responsible for your or your loved one’s care, but will also be your primary point of contact in the future. Having trouble reaching the administrator can be a big sign that you should look elsewhere. It is also a red flag if the staff appears to be overworked or stressed. 

  • Having a bad gut feeling

No matter how perfect things may appear, look elsewhere if you don’t feel comfortable with the facility. Some nursing homes are just not right for you. You can judge a place by how clean the facilities are, how respectful the staff are, or even by how it smells.

Conclusion

Choosing the right nursing home for a loved one may be challenging. Family members want to ensure their loved ones receive the best care possible at this emotional time. Selecting a nursing home facility requires considering key factors, such as location, service types, staff availability, and quality. You can make a big difference in your quality of life by selecting a good nursing home, no matter how long the resident has to stay. 

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