Nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities, as they are also called, have a gloomy reputation and certainly through the years that reputation has been earned. However, more and more, nursing home directors are working hard to make their facilities as pleasant and homelike as possible. Still, when you are selecting a nursing home for your parent or loved one, here are a few tips that will help you find the best possible care facility.
The hard truth is that at some point, many older adults simply cannot live independently and require extra care and often medical care. Often, it is simply too difficult for family members to help around the clock. When your parent’s medical and daily needs are beyond what the family or an in-home caregiver can provide, sometimes it’s best to start looking for a nursing home.
When you visit, you will be shown the best possible picture of the home, but you need to look for clues that really hit beneath the surface. Take note of the residents and their interactions with each other and with staff members. If all of the residents seemed to be tucked in their rooms, this isn’t a good sign. People need to get out of the rooms, enjoy the outdoor gardens, socialize with other residents and generally keep active. The facility should also look and smell clean. If it smells like urine, that’s a bad sign and likewise, if it smells heavily like cleaning products, this isn’t great either. It should just smell clean and fresh.
Be very watchful regarding the staff. How do they address the residents? Do they address them by name or just use general terms, like dear or ma’am? The staff should be familiar enough with each resident to either address them by first name or as Mr. Smith or Mrs. Smith. Also make note of how staff treats each other. A friendly working environment usually bespeaks happy employees who enjoy their job. You also need to ask what the daytime ratio of staff to patient will be, and it really shouldn’t be any higher than about five to one to ensure that your loved one is getting individual care.
Be sure to ask about all the services that are provided for residents. This will include assistance with daily chores and grooming, as well as medical care and the amenities provided to residents. Food and activities also are an important consideration. Don’t just take the manager’s word for it that the food is yummy and nutritious, go and eat lunch or dinner in the facility and sample it. Take a look at the activities available, both the daily activities and the special events. These should have a bit more to offer than just bingo and a few movie nights. There should be some interesting classes, perhaps live music and maybe even comedians that come and entertain the residents.
Often, if your loved one is transferring from a hospital to a nursing home, the hospital staff might be putting a lot of pressure on you to quickly make a selection. If you need to quickly find a nursing home for someone, call us at Care Placement. We can provide you with a list of pre-screened skilled nursing facilities throughout San Diego County and Orange County.