By Andrea Avery
If you have an elderly relative such as a parent who needs to go to a nursing home, you’ll want to choose the facility with care. Not all care facilities are created equally and since this will be your mom’s, dad’s, or aunt’s new residence, you’ll want to make sure it’s a top quality place. You’ll want to carefully check out the staff, the place’s reputation, and the amenities that are offered. It’s wise to ask around to get word-of-mouth referrals, check for complaints with your local licensing agency, and take tours.
The people who are working in your loved one’s nursing home can make or break the experience. When you find places that seem like possibilities, it’s important to find out about the caretakers. This can be done over the phone initially and in-person when you take a tour. Ask about the nurses’ and nurse aides’ training, experience and how long they’ve been working in this facility. Employee turnover is an indicator of the quality of a facility. If it’s a good place, the staff will stay longer. When you take a tour, watch how the residents are interacting with the staff members. Is there a level of comfort between them? When residents ask questions or have concerns, are they treated with respect and responded to compassionately? You can sense the vibe of the place: happy, peaceful, calm, or agitated. Ask questions and pay attention to your intuition.
Ask around to find out about the reputation of each nursing home you’re considering. Word of mouth is always the best source. If a place has been around for a long time, there should be plenty of family members of the residents who can fill you in on their experiences. Your local licensing agency should have a file with inspection reports, compliments, and complaints that should give you oodles of information, too.
You’ll want to ask about the amenities that each nursing home offers. Some examples are field trips, arts and crafts classes, hairdressers who come to the site, vans and group transportation, entertainment such as musicians that perform on-site, church services at the facilities, the quality of the food, and more. Since your elderly relative won’t be going out on his or her own much, you want a place that offers on-site amenities or transportation to them.
Selecting a nursing home for your loved one is an important task. The quality of the facility will profoundly impact your relative’s quality of life. Do your homework and take plenty of tours until you find just the right place.