Perhaps one of the hardest things you will ever have to do is put your loved one in a nursing home or other long-term care facility. It can be a very scary experience, especially if you have never had any experience with nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Here are 10 things to really look at in your search for a good facility.
1. Talk to your loved one’s doctor and ask them for recommendations. Ask your friends for their experiences. Check online for the facilities in your area and see what each one offers. You can also get a hold of your state and find out if they have any violations. Be sure to check out several places. Do not choose the first one you come to.
2. When you go to a facility to check it out, be sure to talk to the staff and the administrator to find out about their policies. Ask for a tour of the facility. Where they polite and did they answer your questions?
3. Look around and see if the facility is clean. What does it smell like? Does it smell like urine and feces? The facility should look clean and bright and should not smell funky. Would you feel comfortable staying there? If the place gives you the creeps, it is probably not a good place.
4. Are the patients clean and well taken care of? Does it look like the staff is paying attention to the patients needs? Or are they being ignored?
5. Talk to the patients and see if they are happy there. You kind of have to be careful with this one. Some patients might not be coherent enough for this. You will find patients that are though. Especially if they are there because of their health and not their mental state.
6. Do they have activities for the patients? What other services do they offer such as field trips or stylists coming in to cut hair? What about meals? Do they all have to go to the dining room or can they stay in their room if they are not up to it?
7. What kind of policies do they have? Are visiting hours friendly? Does the facility have an open door facility? Can you come any time within reason? What if there is a medical problem? Are they going to let you know? Are you going to be involved with the decision making?
8. Once you think you have found a good facility, visit many times. Go there several times at different times if at all possible to observe what is going on. That way you will feel comfortable with the facility.
9. When you go back to have you loved one admitted, be sure you do your best to tell them everything about them. Their medical condition is important, but so is telling them their likes and dislikes. This way they have a heads up and can do their best to help them. Try to work as a team with the facility.
10. If your loved one is mentally coherent, be sure to ask them questions about their care and if they are happy there. There are bound to be some complaints but they should be minor. No facility is perfect. If anything is not to your satisfaction, talk to the staff as soon as possible to resolve the issue.
I hope these few tips will help you pick a good facility that both you and your loved one can live with.