Choosing a nursing home or assisted living facility is an important decision that is often put off until failing health or another concern makes it a priority. Whether you are looking for a home for yourself or a loved one, you can remove some of the stress from making the decision by planning ahead rather than waiting until it becomes a time sensitive issue.
Try these tips to help as you select a nursing home or other facility:
• Location – Think about the distance friends and family will need to travel in order to visit or help with decision-making. Also consider whether the resident will be close enough to continue church and other current activities.
• Personnel and credentials – Make sure the home meets all state legal requirement, has passed all inspections, and has appropriate staff including doctors, nurses, and therapists.
• Services provided – Check to see if Social Services workers are on staff. Check out the menu for meals and find out where meals are served and how specially prescribed diets are accommodated.
Determine whether residents have a good “neighborhood” experience to socialize with others. Stop and listen to see if noise levels are acceptable.
• Special needs – If you need access to special equipment or treatments, such as a ventilator to help with breathing, check to be sure everything you need will be available on site.
• Safety – Ask about security and emergency plans. Look for smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
Check to see if hallways and common areas are easy to navigate, especially for residents using wheelchairs or with walking difficulties. Think about how far it is from patient rooms to dining and activity areas.
• Special services – Ask about services for residents including a hair salon, bank, or gift shop. Also check into the availability of transportation for shopping and other activities.
• Home-like atmosphere – Think about whether residents seem to be happy in their surroundings.