How To Choose A Nursing Home

How to choose a nursing home can be confusing, worrisome, and outright hard.  It involves a decision that few are ready to make and with a responsibility that weighs heavily on those who must make it.  With this backdrop we offer 5 questions you should consider when making this decision. Questions that should be asked and answered before deciding on the nursing home for you or your loved one:

  1. Individual’s needs: Most important are the needs of the individual who will become a resident of the facility. For example, will this be a short term or long-term residency, what level of physical therapy is necessary, and personal needs such as the proximity for family/friends to visit, are likely some of your important considerations;
  2. Environment of the facility: Is it warm and inviting, are there recreational activities that fit the interests of the potential resident, will dietary needs be meet, and quality of the food should be investigated;
  3. Visit the Medicare website: They have resources with useful information, such as how the facility is ranked. Look for the star ranking.  They also have an option that permits you to compare nursing homes;
  4. Visit the State Health website: You should be able to locate and review the most recent inspection and results; and
  5. Learn about staffing: This is as important as any other consideration, as far too many facilities are understaffed. Studies prove that injury, harm, and neglect are directly correlated with high staff turnover, insufficient numbers of staff, and improperly trained staff.

The Home should permit a tour of the facility.  You should make it a point to meet with the Director of Nursing.  This is the individual in charge of the day to day operation of the facility.  Likewise, consider speaking with other members of the staff that will be involved in the day to day care of the resident. There is nothing improper, in fact it should be encouraged, to speak with other residents to learn their opinions.  If other residents do not look cared for, this could be suggestive of a Home to avoid.  Visit the facility at different times of the day.  Share a meal. Bearing in mind that most people do not want to go to a Nursing Home, selecting a facility is often daunting if not outright traumatic.  There are trade organizations, geriatric care services, and reputable counselors that can all help in this decision.  Chances are if the staff, residents, and facility are friendly, warm, and inviting then the resident will be in an environment fitting to their needs.

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