Have you thought about how to help your aging parent pick the right nursing home? When it comes to choosing a nursing home, it is important to invest in the process of making the best possible decision. The stakes are too high to cut corners or wait until the last minute. Elder adults go to nursing homes for different reasons. They could be sick or disabled, recovering from surgery, or require long-term medical or non-medical residential care. In any case, the process of choosing the right nursing home should involve three basic steps:
1. Find nursing homes in your area. Create a list of nursing homes in your area, or the area where the elder loved one will live. The more options to choose from, the better. Online searches may be fruitful, but there can be no substitute for personal experience. Ask family members, friends, neighbors, and the doctors of the elder parent for recommendations. You can also contact an Aging and Disability Resource Center or use an Eldercare Locator. Local senior centers are also helpful.
2. Compare the quality of the facilities. Once you have developed a list, it is time to start investigating. This involves two themes: matching the needs of your loved one to a facility and the quality of care provided. For example, if a facility cannot support an aging parent with Alzheimer’s disease, then cross it off the list. Be aware that nursing homes are required to comply with government regulations and background information is publicly available. You do not have to rely on the facility’s advertising to gauge their record. Contact a long-term care ombudsman, consult a state health department or licensing agency, or use Medicare’s online Nursing Home Compare tool.
3. Visit the nursing homes that fit. Now that you have listed your top choices, it is time to visit them. Make an appointment to meet with each facility’s managing executive and nursing director. Observe key items, and do not be overly concerned about price upon first meeting. Is the nursing home in a safe neighborhood? Is it clean and quiet? Do residents look well cared for? How do staff members interact with residents? If everything lines-up, consider visiting your top choice one last time. Ask any remaining questions and make sure your elder parent is comfortable. Only then should you consider signing a contract.
Doing your due diligence can provide peace of mind during an uncertain nursing home transition. You are not alone. Our office can help you navigate these challenges. Get in touch with us to schedule a meeting.