Choosing a nursing home for yourself or a loved one can be one of the most daunting and most important decisions a person can make in their lifetime. After all, a good many of us will need nursing care in our elder years. However, there are some considerations that can make that decision easier, as the Post-Gazette reports.
The first thing to look at is to determine the kind of care needed. Do you need short-term rehabilitation care? Or perhaps you need care for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. This alone can help cull facilities from your list of potential nursing homes.
If possible, take the time to visit facilities several times before making a decision. Time your visits for different times of the day – say morning and evening and on weekends. Look at the residents. Do they appear well-groomed? Do they appear to be engaged or are they sequestered in their rooms and hallways? Note any urine or other biological odors, as this can give a sense of how resident needs are being cared for.
You may also want to note, if possible, how quickly resident’s call lights are answered. Does the staff answer these calls in a friendly, compassionate manner? Or do they seem annoyed?
Check into meals and note what times they are distributed. Also, make note of the nutritional value of such meals. Are snacks going to be available?
Lastly, make use of the government website called Nursing Home Compare. This site lists all Medicaid and Medicare providers and rates them on a star system from one to five stars. The rating system looks at staffing levels, health and fire safety inspections, and how well residents are cared for in order to come up with the number of starts they receive.
Taking the time, when available, to research and investigate a facility before admitting yourself or a loved one can be well worth the effort.
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