January 30th, 2018
Research reveals that the majority of us will need long-term care assistance as we age. While this form of care can be provided at home, it is expensive and, more often than not, we need to receive this type of help in a long-term care facility. Although none of us want to consider this possibility for ourselves or our parents, it is a reality we need to plan for as early as possible.
The decision to place your parent in a nursing home is not an easy one. It may be a challenge you need to face, however, if your parent is no longer able to safely live in his or her home. Under most circumstances, your parent will reside in the skilled facility you select for the remainder of his or her life. Therefore, it should not only provide a safe and medically experienced environment, but one that is comfortable for your parent as well.
Our clients often ask what they should look for when they are choosing a long-term care facility. Let us share with you the insights and recommendations we provide to them. You can use this information to help you find the right skilled nursing facility based on your and your parent’s needs.
The first step is to be sure the nursing home you choose has quality staff. These are the people who will be interacting with your parent every day and, therefore, need to be both kind and qualified. Ask about the experience of the facility’s employees to manage your parent’s specific medical needs such as Alzheimer’s Disease or Diabetes. Inquire as to the ratio of patients to staff. Is it equal to that of neighboring facilities? Is the ratio low? High? How quickly are emergency calls responded to? Be sure to take a tour and observe how the employees interact with current residents. If you are able to, schedule a second tour on a weekend or a holiday to determine if the same amount of staff is present and your initial observations are the same.
The second step is look to the current residents. Do they appear happy? Well fed? Are they clean? Are there planned activities and games for them to take part in? Is there availability and accommodations for them to do the things they love? For example, if your parent loves card games or eating out at local restaurants, is this on the schedule? Ask to meet with the activities director to learn more about what is offered to residents. If your parent has less mobility, what will the facility do to keep him or her engaged?
Third, examine the facility itself. Is it clean? Are the medical supplies abundant? Are the fire extinguishers and health codes up-to-date? What is the condition of the elevator? If you run your finger above the door jam, is there dust? Do you notice any odors? Do not hesitate to inquire at the county and state level to make sure the facility is in compliance with the most recent regulations and inspections.
Finally, consider the location. Although you may have chosen the facility based on specific parameters, is the right location for your parents? Is there easy access to a hospital? Will your parent’s doctor come to the facility or will he or she be assigned a new doctor? How are trips to specialists handled? Is the facility close to your parent’s neighborhood so friends can visit? Can the facility be close to you if you live in the same town? These are important considerations because, while the “best” facility may be two hours away, perhaps the one that best fits your family is only fifteen minutes away.
It is important to choose a skilled nursing home that can meet your parent’s needs. While it is not an easy decision for anyone, it can be made less traumatic by selecting the right facility for all involved. If you need help making this decision or finding a way to pay for care, we are here for you. Do not wait to schedule a meeting with our legal team to get the assistance you and your parent’s need right now.