Questions to ask before choosing a Nursing Home.

 

Placing a loved one in a Nursing home or even interviewing them for yourself can be a stressful and daunting task. One of the easiest ways to ensure a smooth transition is to find the right fit. We serve a lot of Nursing homes and wanted to provide a guide of questions that will help you narrow down your search. The right Nursing home should provide an engaging, safe, comfortable, and loving environment.

1. Autonomy- This often the biggest road block that I hear about. Make sure to ask how much free choice a patient will have. Can they choose their food, when to eat, when to have leisure time. Having the ability to make choices is linked with higher satisfaction and less mental decline.

2. How the facility stacks up against competition- Go online and read reviews, keep in mind that there's almost never a service or product that has all great reviews but if you see consistently see bad ones, it's a red flag. Even better is if the facility is certified by Medicare or Medicaid you can use the online Nursing Home Comparison Service. This gives you a rating (1-5) stars, health inspection information, staffing information (nurse to patient ratio etc), quality measures, and any penalties against the home. If the nursing home you're interested in isn't Medicare/Medicaid certified there are also links to State comparison sites.

3. The Rules- Most centers will give you a written or online copy of the facilities policies. If you're stuck on what to ask start by questioning friends who have loved ones in Nursing Homes. Ask them what they were surprised by or what they wish they knew before hand. For example, if seeing the same doctor is important ask if they are allowed the continuum of care. Here are some other questions to ask:

. How does the facility handle behavior difficulties
. What is a typical day like for the patients
. What type of communication is there between patient and family, patient and Dr.
. Visiting hours
. Do they room with other residents and if so can they choose the roommate

4. Condition specific care- Depending on what the medical history of the patient is there are some specific questions you should ask. For example if your loved one has Dementia or Alzheimer's ask what safety precautions they have in place to keep the patient from wandering. If you're at a loss of what medical specific questions to ask consult with the patients Doctor.

5. How they handle doctors appointments and medical needs- If your loved one is injured the last thing they need is to be shuffled around in a van to receive an X-ray or scan. A lot of facilities use mobile imaging services such as ours to reduce aggravating an injury, keep the patient more comfortable, and get the results to a Doctor faster.

6. Staff- There can be high turnover in nursing homes and having the same person provide care or the same group of people helps to create a healthy relationship, build trust, and provide better overall care.

7. Extracurricular Activities- Inquire about what types of activities are available and go one step further to see if you can observe a class or two. A vibrant community of residents who have activities to choose from creates a fun, inviting place that will feel like home in no time.

8. Cost- Nursing Homes are required to give you the cost of services but make sure you ask if there are any extras. Facilities have been known to charge for activities and even meal choice.

9. Preventative Care- Ask about both physical, emotional, and mental programs that are in place. Being in a Nursing home doesn't have to feel like the end of the road, and there a lot of measures that can be taken to improve health before a patient needs medical attention.

Moving yourself or a loved one into a Nursing Home can be an exciting next step life if it's the right fit, so take the time to research facilities and enjoy this phase of your life!  
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