Placing your loved one in a nursing home can be a very challenging situation for many families, but there are a few things you can do to make the transition smooth. Here are our 10 quick tips for choosing the right nursing home.
1. Level of care
When it comes to choosing a nursing home, the right facility must fit your loved one’s needs. If only minimal supervision is necessary, for instance, then independent living or assisted living may be the best fit. For more substantial care, such as an Alzheimer’s or Dementia unit, then it might be best to find a facility that accommodates these special needs. Many facilities provide lock-down units for residents who wander for added protection.
2. Other options exist
What about taking care of your loved one at home? Depending on the level of care required, you might consider using a Home Care Agency for in-home assistance, such as bathing and physical therapy. Many people are unaware that Adult Day Care centers (we don’t like the name either) also offer nursing and therapy services as well.
3. Cost of care
Be sure to verify what type of payment the facility accepts for services rendered. Medicare typically covers the first 20 days of the nursing home stay, but after that you must pay privately or apply for a Medicaid program (if applicable). Beware that not all facilities accept Medicaid payments.
4. Make a budget
You can compare the cost of various long-term care options based on where you live by using our Nursing Home Calculator.
5. Location, location, location
Is the facility located near family and friends? In case of an emergency, it’s important to choose a facility that is close to you so you can be available when your loved one needs it.
6. There’s no place like home
Make sure the facility allows your loved one to decorate, hang photos, and have a TV. You want to make sure the nursing facility allows tenants to enjoy their hobbies and other activities that bring them joy. Are there social events such as bingo and aerobics? Is transportation provided for activities outside of the facility?
You will need to determine if the facility has beds available or if your loved one will be placed on a waiting list. No one likes being forced to choose on short notice, especially when there’s limited availability.
8. Phone a friend
Have your friends, neighbors, or co-workers dealt with the facility before? Does the primary care physician make visits to the facility?
9. Comparative shopping
Shopping around is important when deciding what facility is best. You can go to www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare to browse for nursing homes in your area.
10. The $64,000 question
Does the facility improve the quality of living for your loved one? After all, the personal and medical needs of our family are most important. Find a facility that you feel will improve your loved one’s overall quality of life.