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Questions to Ask About Nursing Home Care

Sep 18, 2012 at 9:48

When it comes to choosing the right nursing home to meet your needs, it can often be a difficult decision. There are many factors to take into account, such as location, training of staff, special services, and more. It is best to visit several different nursing homes at least twice so you can analyze and compare them at different times. It is important to ask the right questions before deciding which nursing home is best for you.

The Basics of Senior Living

As with any senior living facility, there are basic requirements such as types of payment accepted and staffing levels you may want to find out about first. If you are depending on Medicare or Medicaid for payment, be sure to ask if they are certified to accept those options. It is also important to find out if the facility’s license has ever been revoked.  If it has, then you should find out why and if it was satisfactorily resolved. Ask if there is a waiting period for admission, and if so, how long it is. As for the staff, ask about the patient to staff ratio and whether or not background checks are conducted on all staff members. Also, find out the number of licensed nurses on duty during each shift.

Safety and Care Issues

Other things to look for and questions to ask center around issues of safety and care. The nursing home should follow basic safety protocols, such as adequate lighting in public areas, well-marked exits, handrails in the hallways, emergency call buttons, locks on doors and windows, and fire safety systems. The facility shouldn’t have any noticeably bad odors, and the residents should appear clean and well groomed. Note how staff members interact with the residents – are they friendly and patient, or do they appear to be curt and rushed? It is a good idea to come visit during mealtimes and observe the quality of the food, and if staff members offer assistance for those who need it for eating or drinking. Are there different choices of food offered at mealtimes? Find out if physical therapy is offered as well, and if the staff is trained for special needs such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.

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