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When you make the decision that it will be necessary for your loved one to enter an assisted living facility or nursing home, you are going to want to make sure they are going to the best possible facility with the best ratings.
This is how you should go about checking out nursing homes for your loved one.
First of all, pick a nursing home or assisted living facility that is convenient for you. It should be at a reasonable driving distance from your home, if possible.
The way to do this general search is to start online with two great websites:
The search parameters vary between the sites, but will allow you pick up a special facility based upon the unique symptoms your loved one is experiencing (ie: Alzheimer’s, dementia, diabetes, etc…) within a specified geographic area (state, county, zip code).
In addition, you need to be aware of the payment options that are available. Most nursing homes do take Medicaid, but the application process can take months.
This is why if you are in the process of applying for Medicaid you must check with the admissions office to make sure that the nursing homes you are looking at accept “Medicaid pending” patients. What this means is that the nursing home is willing to wait for payment from Medicaid.
Now, after the search results are displayed through the online locator’s, you will have access to a wealth of information about the facility, including…
Use this information as the first step in the process of determining the three or four facilities you are going to visit in order to make a final decision for your loved one.
Depending upon the situation, you may also have access to a social worker who may be able to guide you through this process.
When my mother fell and was in the hospital, I received plenty of support and feedback from the social workers at the hospital she was receiving care in. They helped me to pick the right facility close to me with a good reputation and quality control where she stayed until she was able to come home. So if you have access to such advice, use it.
Now that you have narrowed your choices to the three of four facilities that will fit the needs of your loved one, you now need to make arrangements to visit them. As you go on the tour, you need to be like a sponge, absorbing as much information as you can and being as observant as you can.
Whoever is taking you on the tour will undoubtedly be highlighting the good points of their facility. But these are some of the things that you want to be watching for…
And here are some questions for the facilities administrators:
What is the staff-to-resident ratio at the facility? This is a indicator of the quality of the care that your loved one will receive. Here are acceptable levels of nurses aides to residents:
A. Night shift: One aide for every 14 patients
B. Evening shift: one aide for every 10 patients
C. Day shift: one aide for every 6 patients
Finally, as you leave the facility, just ask yourself, “Would I want to spend the last years of my life here?” And the answer to that question will determine whether or not this is the place for your loved one.
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