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5 Questions to Ask Before Deciding on a Nursing Home

Have you considered how important it will be for you to help an elder loved one decide on the right nursing home? There are many factors to consider, such as price, location, and safety record. An elder loved one also has to be comfortable with the facility if they are going to live there. These big-picture concerns only scratch the surface.

Let us take time to review five questions you should be asking when doing your due diligence on nursing home selection.

1. Is the nursing home accredited? All skilled nursing home facilities must comply with federal regulations if they receive Medicare and Medicaid payments. States also require nursing home certifications. An organization called the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations further accredits nursing homes. While participation is voluntary, approval from the Joint Commission shows an extra level of transparency and care.

2. What is the environment like? This question is more about observing the facility than it is pressing a nursing home’s management for answers. For example, is the facility clean? Is it located in a safe neighborhood? What is the quality of the outside gardens and interior décor? These are not superficial judgments, but important criteria for long-term residence.

3. Who will provide medical care? When visiting a nursing home, make sure to meet with the facility’s top administrator and medical director. Also, ask to meet with staff members who would provide medical care to your aging loved one . Is there a doctor on-site? Can your loved one still see his or her doctors? If so, will the nursing home provide transportation?

4. What is the turnover rate for nursing aides? Nursing aides are the backbone of nursing home care, and a high turnover rate can be a major red flag. It may also be important to gauge the reputation of the facility’s nursing staff, but you do not have to rely on the facility for the information. Contact an area nursing home ombudsman or the agency that regulates nursing homes in your state.

5. What kind of recreational activities and social services are offered? Like young people, elder adults need social interaction and enjoyable activities to be fulfilled, healthy, and mentally stimulated. This also helps mitigate loneliness and social isolation. Nursing homes should provide a wide range of activities and social opportunities. If they do not, consider it a potential deal-breaker.

Choosing the right nursing home can provide peace of mind during a period of uncertainty and loss of independence. There is more to consider, especially regarding contracts, insurance, and government benefits. You are not alone. Our office can help you navigate these challenges. Contact us today to schedule a meeting.

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