With 15,600 nursing homes in operation in the U.S., you may think that finding the right facility for an aging loved one is a piece of cake. But there’s a lot to consider when choosing the right nursing home. Everything from the staff to the meals should be carefully scrutinized when researching nursing homes so that you and your family don’t end up regretting your decision.
Here are some key tips to keep in mind when selecting a private nursing service for a family member.
Ask Everyone You Know For Recommendations
Your social network is a good place to start when conducting research on nursing homes. Chances are someone you know knows someone in a nursing home—and may be able to give you information on whether the facility is a reputable and well-run facility or not. Friends, coworkers, neighbors, and of course, other family members may be visiting someone in a nursing home and can give you feedback.
Another good resource for recommendations is caregiving support groups. If you don’t know of a group near you that meets in-person, join local ones on Facebook. Read online reviews for the ones you’re considering to make sure others are satisfied with the quality of care and services.
Tour Potential Choices
Once you’ve settled on a few potential nursing homes, you’ll want to arrange a tour. There are several things you should be observing during this visit, including the cleanliness of the rooms, social gathering spaces, and dining area. Make note of how the staff interacts with and treats residents; do they make an effort to connect with them?If your loved one has a health condition that requires specialized care or has dementia, you’ll want to know everything you can about what is memory care and you’ll need to find out how the staff and on-site medical professionals care for residents that require extra assistance and attention. If your loved one is a social butterfly, find out what kind of recreational activities and opportunities for interaction are held and how often.
Notice the smells throughout the building; sometimes a pleasant smell could be air freshener being used to conceal a problem. Both the residents and their living quarters should be clean and presentable.
The location also matters when considering nursing homes. If you plan on visiting your loved one often, you’ll need to find a facility that is convenient to where you work or live. Consider the cost, and determine who is going to pay for it.
Check For Violations and Complaints
It’s an unfortunate reality that elder abuse is a problem in many nursing homes and often goes undetected if the resident cannot communicate to others what is going on. That is why doing as much research as possible is vital when choosing a facility.
State agencies conduct assisted living inspections and give certifications to facilities that pass. You’ll need to make sure the homes you have in mind have passed inspection and have little to no violations. There are several free nursing home information databases online that can reveal which ones have been fined or have deficiencies.
And when you tour an assisted living facility, keep these 10 red flags for nursing home abuse in mind. Keep your eyes and ears open for anything that doesn’t feel right.
Know How to Select the Right Nursing Home
Above all, choosing the right nursing home takes some time and research. It is not a decision to be made lightly or quickly. And if your loved one is mentally able to make the decision, you should take their opinion and desires into consideration as well.
For more tips and advice on making other important life decisions, visit our How-To section.