For many people, the thought of a nursing home conjures up negative images. Advertisements from lawyers encouraging legal action are seen in the media daily. Also, there are many people who love to relate embellished accounts of bad nursing home experiences. What if you find yourself in a situation where nursing home placement is an unavoidable option? Are you considering nursing home placement in the near future? What are the traits of a good home that will meet your needs?
What is the overall appearance of the facility? How does the outside look? Are the grounds well maintained? How is the landscaping? What is your first impression as you pull in the parking lot? A facility that is well maintained, neat, clean, and decorated nicely is a good indication of the quality of care your loved one will receive. How so? Well, think about how you feel when you meet someone who is neat, clean, and pleasant? How do you feel when you see someone who is sloppy with poor hygiene? Which one of those two people are you more likely to trust?
How does it smell inside the facility? If you smell odors reminiscent of urine and fecal material as soon as you walk into the door, you should run as fast as you can. There are times a person may smell unpleasant odors in a nursing home, but this should never be the case upon entering. How often do they clean the rooms? Do they mop daily? Do they have a deep cleaning schedule? Do you see cluttered bedside tables, messy beds, or dirty wheelchairs?
What is the appearance of the workers? Are they neat, clean, pleasant, and use good English? Or, are they sloppy with a bad attitude? Remember, these are the people that will be taking care of you. Do the workers appear to like their job? What is the overall morale? Does the administrator and director of nursing have an open door policy? Does the facility have a high turnover rate?
How do people in the community feel about the facility? Word of mouth is the best form of advertisement. Talk to other people about the nursing home. Do you know someone who has a loved one there, or stayed there themselves? Pay attention to what they say. If it is a former employee, be wary. Is that person reliable? How does what they say measure up with the comments of others.
How do the patients look? Do they look happy? Do they have clean clothing? Is the clothing appropriate for the season? Are they bored? Do they look malnourished? How does their hair look? Is it clean and well groomed? How do their fingernails look? Are they long and dirty?
How does the food look? Food is very important. Are the cuts of meat good quality? How does the food appear? How is it arranged? What is the temperature? Does the meal have adequate nutritional value? How many of the different food groups are represented? Is the dietary department able and willing to accommodate different types of diets?
What type of activities do they feature? Recreation is essential to a high quality of life. Do they participate in outdoor recreation? Are most of the recreational choices indoors? Will you have a varied choice in recreational activities? Does the facility go out of their way to do special things for the residents? Will your loved one’s spiritual needs be fulfilled? How will they fulfill them?
Ask to see the state survey results and Medicare rating. You should take a look at the survey results. This should be placed in an area that is easily accessible. Medicare also has a rating system for long-term care facilities. It is based on a scale of one to five, you will want to consider four or five-star facilities.
Ask for a tour. Examine every area of the nursing home, and pay attention to what you see. Ask questions about the therapy department. How many therapists do they have on staff? If you are seeking rehabilitation, this is an important question to ask. You will want to receive your therapy as scheduled. Does the nursing facility have a home like an environment? What is the condition of the equipment used? Are the lifts in good repair? Does the maintenance department do a good job of keeping things in working order? There are a lot of good nursing home facilities with the staff that will care about you and your loved ones. If you have to consider one, do not despair. With a little research and determination, you can find a home that will meet your needs.