Choosing a nursing home can be a difficult decision. Before making a selection, potential residents and their families should conduct research and assessments of potential facilities to ensure that the chosen facility will be the right fit. Potential residents and their loved ones are encouraged to visit several nursing homes before making a decision.
Before selecting a nursing home, it is important to consider the unique needs of the elderly person. Does he or she have any health conditions that require specialized attention? Types and levels of care may vary between nursing homes, and it should never be assumed that a facility will have the appropriate staff qualifications, equipment, and expertise required to handle all aspects of an individual’s care.
Potential residents and their families should conduct as much research as possible regarding each nursing home. Many states have assessments and ratings that are available to the public upon request. These ratings are based on routine assessments and regulations in accordance with each state’s nursing home laws. Potential residents and their families will be able to check overall ratings, as well as any code violations of nursing homes.
Individuals should not be afraid to ask probing questions, such as:
- What is the falling rate of the facility?
- What is the frequency and ranking of nonsocomial, or hospital-acquired infections?
- What processes does the facility have in place for preventing the spread of illness and infection?
- Has the nursing home been reported for violations? If so, how many and which ones?
- Does the facility have a poor reputation in the public and among residents?
Recommendations are a powerful tool when selecting a nursing home. Elderly individuals and their families should ask other family members, friends, and colleagues who have experiences with other nursing homes. If another resident has had a positive and satisfactory experience with a facility, there is a better chance that the new resident will also have a positive experience. Negative stories and reviews should be a red flag for potential residents. These issues should be thoroughly investigated before selecting a nursing home.
The only way to truly know whether or not a resident will make a good fit into a nursing home is to experience it first-hand. Potential residents and their families are encouraged to make both scheduled and unannounced visits. By making unannounced visits, individuals have a better opportunity to see the nursing home in its natural, un-prepared state. This may provide better insight into nursing homes which may not be as ideal as they seem during a planned visit.