How to Tell if a Nursing Home is Safe
Many families reach a point when they realize they’re no longer equipped to provide the level of care a loved one needs. While it’s a difficult decision to make, moving a loved one into a nursing home is frequently the best choice when that time comes.
For the move to be a positive one for both the family and your senior loved one, it’s crucial that you find a good nursing home with supportive staff and a safe environment. Here are some tips for doing so.
1. Check the reviews.
Before you even get to the point of paying a visit to the nursing homes in your area, you can weed out those that don’t have a great reputation by seeing what other residents and their loved ones have said online. Nursing home reviews are a relatively new addition to the nursing home selection process, but one that can make a big difference in giving you some advance insight into how your potential home stacks up according to people with direct experience.
2. Talk to friends for referrals.
Online reviews are simply the modern equivalent of the kind of recommendations and warnings people have been making amongst friends for years. You probably know someone in your area that has had to make this decision already. Talk to friends and ask for any recommendations from friends of friends to see if anyone knows of a place they’ve had especially good or bad experiences with. Their opinions and experiences can help you make a more informed decision with your loved one.
3. Pay a visit.
You’ll never really know what to expect of a place unless you take the time to check it out in person. Set up a time to see the nursing home, talk to the staff, chat with the residents and walk the whole area to get a feel for it. Stay for a meal to see how the food is. Check out what the rooms look like. You want to get as full a picture of what a day in the life of a current resident looks like as possible.
4. Ask lots of questions.
Come prepared with a list of questions that will give you a better idea of how the place is run. How many trained nurses are on staff? Do they have experience handling the types of health issues your loved one has? What’s their typical procedure for dealing with emergencies? Try to think of everything that might be a concern before your visit and write it down so you don’t forget to ask.
And ask the residents questions too. Do they find their rooms comfortable? Have they ever felt like they weren’t receiving the care they needed? Do take some of those answers with a grain of salt. If the nursing home has residents with dementia, then waking up to an unfamiliar room can be scary and confusing, even if the home is completely safe. Nonetheless, the residents can provide you some of the best insights into what your loved one can expect from their stay.
5. Visit often.
Your job doesn’t stop once you’ve found a place that looks safe and comfortable. Once your loved one moves in, stop by and check on them frequently. Make sure you keep an eye on how they’re doing and watch out for any warning signs that their health may be taking a turn for the worse. Don’t feel like you have to totally trust your loved one’s care to someone else; you can and should still do your part to make sure they’re happy, safe, and comfortable.