Choosing a Nursing Home

Nursing home placement. That is not the term anyone wants to hear. But today, with more and more people living longer and longer, that is often the only option. Sometimes, the care required for an elderly person is more than his or her family can deal with. When this is the case, that family has to decide on a nursing home for their loved one. Sometimes this decision has to be made rather quickly as well.

What are the options and resources available to you? Probably the most important is word or mouth or reputation. Ask around. Ask everyone. What nursing homes have they been too? Have they had a loved one in a nursing home in the last few years? What did they think?

Research facilities in your area on the Internet. Use sites like nursing home compare. This will give you some basic information to start with but doesn’t give you the complete picture. It may help weed out any facilities that are bad though. Some information from these sites may be helpful for you. Look at the facilities websites as well. What is the mission of each facility? Are they faith-based? Nonprofit or for profit? Each of these things has an impact on the type of care and the management of the facility.

Always go and tour the building. This can’t be stressed enough. Go and see the facility yourself. What is the overall feel of the place? Is the staff friendly? Take notice of the staff interactions with each other and with the residents currently living there. Do they treat each person with respect? Are they smiling and saying hello to the residents? Are the residents out and about in the building? Do the residents appear involved and interested in life? Think about the cleanliness of the building and resident rooms. Is there an odor in the facility? (on occasion there may be smells in the hallways near resident rooms if someone has just been changed after having an bowel movement for instance, but the overall facility should have no odor at all). Also, look at the activity calendar. Is there a variety of programs throughout the day, evening and weekends to occupy the residents? The activity department can be the heart of any nursing home. A good activity or recreation program can make a huge difference in the lives of nursing home residents.

Finally, talk to the staff in the facility. They should be pleasant, friendly and give an overall warm and caring impression.

Always remember that once someone moves into a nursing care facility, they can move again if you don’t feel comfortable at that home. Some facilities may not be as good as they look at first, but the reverse is always the case as well. A beautiful brand new facility may not be the place where your loved one gets the best care. That is why it is so important to actually go to the facility and to talk to others. Reputation is one of the best indications of quality of care.