Making the Nursing Home Choice
While placing a loved one in a nursing home is a difficult decision, there may come a time when it is the right one. It will help if you do your homework and trust your instincts.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the nations nursing homes provide care to over 1.5 million people. Over 90% of these residents are over age 65. Most of the residents are frail and require round-the-clock supervision due to dementia.
Things You Need to Know
If the person is hospitalized, the discharge planner and/or social workers can assist you in assessing the needs of the individual and locating the appropriate facility.
If you are choosing a nursing facility for someone who is presently at home, ask for referrals from your physician, Area Agency on Aging, friends, and family.
Other factors such as location, cost, the quality of care, services, size, religious and cultural preferences, and accommodations for special care need to be considered.
When youve located a few facilities that youd like to consider more thoroughly, plan on visiting each one, both with scheduled and unscheduled visits, and at different times and on different days of the week.
As you are walking around, take note of what you hear and dont hear. Is it silent? Is there activity? How clean does it look? Are the residents dressed appropriately for the season? Most importantly, find out the ratio of nurses to residents is and what is the staff turnover rate?
The admissions contract should, at a minimum, contain the daily room rate, reasons for discharge and transfer from the nursing home, and the policy regarding payment of the daily room rate if the resident goes to the hospital or the family brings the resident home for a short period of time.
You may question if youre really making the right decision to place your loved one in a facility at all. Remember, you can do no more than your best, and if youve done that, neither you nor your family member can ask any more of you.
Making the Nursing Home Choice is one of a series of Since You Care® guides for caregivers produced by the MetLife Mature Market Institute in cooperation with the National Alliance for Caregiving.