Making the decision that it is time for a parent, or other elderly loved one, to be moved to a nursing home because you are unable to provide the level of care he/she needs is never an easy decision to make. If you have recently made that decision, however, you are now faced with the equally difficult task of choosing a nursing home for your loved one. Picking nursing home may seem a daunting task given all the stories we hear about abuse and neglect that occurs in long-term care facilities; however, with some planning and dedication, you can dramatically increase the odds of choosing an excellent nursing home that will provide the care you wish your loved one to receive.
Set Aside Time
Before you even begin your search, make a point of setting aside the necessary time your search will require over the next few weeks. Picking a nursing home for your parent may be one of the most important decisions you ever make. Choosing the right facility will take research and hands on investigation. All of this will require a decent amount of your time. Accepting that, and planning accordingly, will make your search go much more smoothly.
Ask for Referrals
As soon as you even suspect that a nursing home may be necessary, start asking friends, family members, and even co-workers for referrals. When it comes to nursing home care, personal experience cannot be beat. Moreover, almost everyone has had a loved one in a nursing home at some point over the past several years, or currently has a loved one in a nursing home. If you have a close relationship with the individual, you may even wish to ask about paying a visit to their loved one to get his/her personal recommendation and opinions when possible. The bottom line is you can never have too many opinions based on first hand experiences.
Do Some Internet Research
As with most decisions in your life, you should never make a final decision on a nursing home based on what you read on the internet; however, the internet can be a great source of information when used properly. The facility’s website may offer basic, albeit biased, information about the facility. Go beyond the facility’s website by checking for reviews about the facility. Keep in mind though, people rarely go to the trouble of writing reviews when they have something positive to say about anything so don’t let the lack of positive reviews bother you too much all by itself.
Use Medicare Compare
Make use of Medicare’s website “Medicare Compare” to search for and compare nursing homes in your desired area. This excellent tool will provide you with Medicare’s overall rating for the facility, information on health inspections completed at the facility, staffing, and quality measures among other things. While there are other sites that also rate nursing homes, with Medicare Compare you know who that a legitimate, unbiased, and trusted source is providing the information.
Make It Personal
Once you have a short list of potential nursing homes for your loved one, make appointments at the facilities on the list to meet the administrators and take a tour. Find out as much as possible about the way the facility is run, such as the staff to resident ratio, what type of activities they have for the residents, and even what the facility’s menus typically include. After you complete your official visit, stop by unannounced. Try to see how the facility looks and operates when a potential new resident isn’t expected to be touring the facility. If possible, speak to the staff and residents while you are there either time to get their opinions.
By following these steps you will find that choosing the right nursing home for your parent (or other love one) will be a bit easier and you will greatly increase your odds of choosing a caring, competent, and compassionate facility as well.
For more information, please download our FREE estate planning worksheet. If you have questions or concerns relating to choosing a nursing home, contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at the Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia by calling 800-295-1917 to schedule your appointment.