Selecting a Home for a loved one is not an easy task. Here are some tips to help you choose one that you will feel most comfortable and secure with.
- Inquire about the Caregivers?
- Be sure to ask about the ratio of caregivers to residents. Find out how long have staff and managers been employed by that nursing home, and do they enjoy their work? Also see that staff is permanently assigned to residents. Ask if the same team of nurses and certified nursing assistants work with the same resident four to five days a week?
- Make sure they are friendly and available who appear pleasant, caring and accommodating to residents and visitors. They should respond quickly to call lights.
- Is it sanitary and clean?
- Do you smell urine, feces, or other bad odors? Go to the bathroom. Any restroom in the public areas will do. Evaluate the overall cleanliness.
- Is it safe?
- During visits, make sure the nursing home has handrails in hallways, grab bars in bathrooms and other features aimed at accident prevention. Clearly marked exits and unobstructed paths in all areas.Bedrooms should open onto a corridor and have windows. Hallways must be wide enough to permit two wheelchairs to pass with ease, and wheelchair ramps for easy access into and out of the home.
What is the emergency evacuation plan, and does the nursing home have regular fire drills?
- Are residents well taken care of?
- Look for residents—in the right places. If you see them in activity areas, dining rooms, and outdoor areas, that’s good. If you see them being changed, dressed, or toileted, it means the facility doesn’t value their privacy—or dignity. Also, look for restraints being used on the residents—things like wheelchair trays, vests that keep patients sitting upright, or other devices that restrict movement. Although restraints may be temporarily necessary in a medical emergency, better nursing homes work to meet residents’ needs using restraint-free methods.
There should be an activity room or designated space for residents able to be involved in reading, crafts and social activities.
- Are they being well fed?
- Check out the food and drink. Also find out the following: Is there a licensed dietician on staff? Is there a list of resident food allergies and dislikes on record? Is fresh drinking water easily accessible? Dehydration is a special risk for nursing-home residents.
- Do they offer informative and stimulating classes for family?
- Join the residents. All nursing homes are supposed to support both family and resident councils—groups that work to ensure proper care and treatment of all residents by communicating concerns and needs with facility managers and ombudsmen. There should be a schedule of these meetings posted.
- Come back—again and again. Once your family member is admitted, make sure there is a patient care plan on file. This document, required for all patients, includes an outline of care requirements including dietary needs, medications, and rehabilitation directives. The most important thing you can do is to visit often, to make sure the patient’s care plan is being followed, and to consistently monitor his or her care.