Nursing home care – 5 Tips to Choosing a Nursing Home for Your Family Member.
Enrolling a loved one in a nursing home is a tough decision to make. You want to be assured that your loved one is safe and will receive good care. The life of your family member – parent, grandparent, etc. depends on this decision. Often, the circumstances are such that a need for a nursing home comes unexpectedly. There may be little time to prepare, however, below is some basic information about nursing homes that will help you make a more informed decision.
- Service Levels:
- Level 1: This service includes basic household chores such as housekeeping or fixing of his or her room, doing the bed, laundry services, cooking of food and other chores.
- Level 2: Service can include walking assistance, bathing and toilet assistance, help on therapy and medical needs. An example of this is assistance to patients with dementia.
- Level 3: This is given to clients who need total assistance in virtually every activity from helping with pain, physical feeding or more specialized therapies.
- Check Twice, Buy Once – Before entering into a nursing home care program, make sure that you read the contract carefully and understand what you are signing. Provisions in the contract will be made in coordination with the family members. All details of the contract should be in accordance with laws such as the Aged Care Act. The execution of the contract should be made clear to all the staff of the nursing home.
- Special Considerations – Do not place your family member in a nursing home unless you take a tour of the whole facility first. Visit the nursing home at different times so you can see the different shifts. See if they have enough staff at all times. You should be satisfied with your loved one’s new home before you leave him or her there. Some additional points to look for: Are the facilities undergoing construction? Are the nurses sincere, warm and friendly? Are the staff in high morale and satisfied with their jobs? Is there enough one-on-one service between nurses and patients?
- Satisfaction with their services – Once you have thoroughly observed their facilities and services, try to assess if you are satisfied with what they are offering. It is important that you are totally convinced that they will do a good job in taking care of your loved one.
- Prices of services – Ask for a copy of their price list with a brief description of each service they offer.
- Smell around the facility – Check the entire place for any unpleasant smells or any distinctive odors present inside or outside the facility. If there is an unpleasant smell, try to determine where it is coming from—this can indicate a sanitation issue or patient care issue.
- Peace and Quiet – What is the level of sound around the whole facility? Is silence maintained in and around the place? Find out how each staff communicates with one another particularly in the hallways.
- Sanitation is very important. Floors should be clean with no spills of any kind. Toilets, bathrooms, kitchen, etc. should be regularly sanitized. Clean uniform or clothes should always be worn by their staff.
- Illumination – There must be proper illumination in rooms, hallways and other areas of the facility. Poor lighting can cause accidents, especially at night.
Once your loved one is placed in a skilled nursing facility, make sure you visit often and observe any changes to the above list. If you notice anything of concern, mention it to the staff immediately. If you find that the staff are unresponsive, you may report the issue to the Ombudsman assigned to your facility—their information should be posted clearly near the entrance of the facility. Your loved one deserves to live in a safe, clean environment treated with dignity.