Making the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home can be both difficult and painful. To ensure you or your loved one are placed in the best nursing home facility possible, consider these suggestions:
- Ask friends, family and physicians for recommendations of facilities they liked or of places to avoid.
- Review the facility’s report card. All states require some sort of inspections for nursing homes. In addition, facilities receiving funding from Medicare or Medicaid are subject to federal inspections. Check to make sure the facility is in compliance with all pertinent laws and regulations. If they do have violations, are they minor violations or evidence of major problems. Most states have links to inquire about nursing home inspections on the states’ department of health websites. A report card can also be requested from the nursing home’s director.
- Make an appointment to visit the facility. Take a tour, ask the staff and residents questions. Does the facility look clean? Do the residents appear to be happy and taken care of? What is the amount of training and education required for nursing home staff? Staff to patient ratio? Are background checks completed on staff? (Be aware, while taking a tour, they are trying to point out the best features of the facility.)
- Visit unannounced, not once, but multiple times and at different times of the day. This is important because you may witness and observe things that were not happening on your first visit. It gives you a better indication of the facility and how it is run on a day-to-day basis.
- Pick the facility where you believe your loved one will receive the best care. Make sure the facility can accommodate any special needs your loved one may have, everything from an Alzheimer’s unit to the ability to make a Kosher meal.
- Once your loved one is in a facility, visit often and get to know the staff members and other residents. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or discuss any problem as soon as they arise.