Most families agonize over the right time to consider placing a loved one into a nursing home, hoping that the chosen time is neither too soon nor too late. The mere thought of taking steps towards nursing home admission brings a host of emotions for family caregivers to the surface—fear, guilt, worry, anxiety, and helplessness, to name a few.
Families need assurance that the nursing home they select for their loved one meets all of their needs including medical, social, emotional, and memory care. Knowing that the staff is attentive, responsive, and courteous towards nursing home residents leaves families with confidence that their loved one will be happy in the new setting.
Most people typically begin the process of finding a nursing home by performing an online search. That’s a good place to start, but it’s also a good idea to take a tour of the facility and get information directly from staff on the premises.
During your tour, keep your eyes and ears open. Pay attention to sounds. Whatever you hear during the tour is what your family member will be hearing on a regular basis if you select that facility. Try to take notice of any urine or other unusual smells, which could be an indication of hygiene problems. Without being too obvious, observe residents for bruising or other signs of abuse. Take note of whether they are kept in their rooms or if they are participating in activities. If they are room-bound, try to find out of the staff brings activities to them. Staff should not appear that they are overworked or bored. Keep an eye on interactions between staff and residents to determine if staff are attentive and courteous.
Part of your decision-making process will include an interview with the nursing home administration. Prepare a list of questions to take with you so that you don’t miss any important information. The Alzheimer’s Association has devised a checklist that is divided into categories for individuals who are interviewing nursing homes. Think about questions that you may have in the following categories:
Building and environment Services Resident rooms Resident appearance Meals and dining rooms Activities Costs Staff Family responsibilities
Remember that each resident has individual needs, so you may not need to ask all of the questions on this list and you may have other questions that aren’t listed on the template. The important thing is to carefully think through the issues that will give you a sense of security in knowing that your loved one is safe and happy in the facility.
Start your nursing home comparison without leaving your home by performing an online search. It’s important to recognize that facilities take different forms of payment and funding for residential nursing care. One of the first things you should find out is whether the facility will accept your identified funding source, so that you don’t waste time on facilities that just won’t work out.
Medicaid is one of the most common forms of funding for nursing home care. The federal government has developed an online search platform, called Nursing Home Compare, as part of its Medicare website to aid families in finding suitable nursing care facilities that accept Medicaid. Search by state, city, zip code, or facility to begin your search and compare up to three facilities at a time. A quick search of San Antonio pulls up 66 nursing homes to review and check ratings. Seven of the 66 nursing homes have 5-star ratings, and 15 of the facilities have 4-star ratings.
SeniorAdvisor.com is another site that allows you to pull up a directory of nursing homes by location. Read descriptions of facilities , services and see photos. Check out the verified consumer reviews for a first-hand accounting of consumer opinion and experience. SeniorAdvisor.com lists 70 nursing home facilities. Three of the facilities get top ratings with 5 stars and a couple more reach 4.5 stars.
Strong ratings on Nursing Home Compare and SeniorAdvisor.com are an indication that San Antonio is home to a fine selection of quality nursing homes.
Making the transition from home care to skilled nursing care is sure to be an adjustment for the individual who needs care, as well as the family members who are no longer able to care for them appropriately at home. Advocates for elder care have worked tenaciously to make sure that an array of services are available from the least restrictive care to the highly skilled nursing care in a protected setting. Families in transition will find much support in the eldercare community as they make the transition.
Find assisted living in San Antonio near you.