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Choosing a long term care facility

Have your elderly parents told you before "You better not ever put me in one of those homes". I remember quite well my mom telling me this before she passed away.

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I remember telling my mom that I would never put her in a long term care facility. I guess I failed on that one, but I knew when she could not take care of herself any longer at my home safely. I remember trying to explain to her that I would not be trying to place her there if it was not absolutely in her best interest. I told my mom that she was unsafe at my house while myself and my husband both had to work. She finally gave in to go into a long term care facility but she let me know each time I saw her that she wanted to come home. I told her mom if I could take you home with me for good you know I would.

How do I choose a long term care facility for my elderly parents?

You know when choosing a long term care facility for your elderly parents there is so much to consider. Do I choose a new building, and old building, how do I know if they will take good care of my parents while I am not there? What about abuse in these facilities? Do not always listen to the lawyers on tv. In most case abuse does not occur like the lawyers say it does. If you suspect abuse talk with the director of nursing and the administrator. If you are not satisfied with there answers you have the ombudsman you can contact or you can contact the state about your concerns. All these numbers should be posted for you to see them in a very public place.

When looking for a long term care facility do your homework. All long term care facilities are inspected at least on a yearly basis for how they take care of their patients. You can google on the internet to find out about the facilities you are thinking about. In North Carolina here is a link to see the nursing homes and how they rate on the star system. All NC nursing homes are now rated on a 1-5 star basis. A 1 star facility is probably not the best option for you to consider. A 2 star facility is having some difficulity but in most cases is trying to get there nursing home up in standards. A 3 star to 5 star homes are the ones you really want to consider getting your loved one into. These homes have very good care, lower urinary tract infections for their residents, have smaller amounts of wounds in their facilities, and not a lot of weight loss in their residents.

What do I want to look at when I visit a long term nursing home?

When you approach a building you are considering, look at the building itself. How does it look.Is it well maintained, lawn clean and neat. Is the building in good repair whether it is brand new or an older building. Take a look and see if you see residents sitting outside the building on the porch or family members sitting outside. Speak to them and ask them questons. Tell them you are considering placing a family member in that facility. Ask them how staff answers questions and responds to concerns. Ask about the ratio of staff to residents. Find out if possible if they are ever understaffed. Also there should be an audit in the front lobby from the previous state survey. Look at this as it will give you and idea about the care the facility provides and what their star rating is.

When you go inside the facility things to look for soon as you walk in the door are there any odors of urine or feces. Is the facility warm and inviting when you walk in. If possible just walk around and look at the grooming of the residents sitting inside. Are they all bunched up by the nurses station just sitting there? Do you see activities going on in the facility. Does any of the staff greet you when they see you. Are the staff smiling or do you hear them complaining about their jobs or about being short staffed? Ask questions to the nursing assistants that take care of the residents. Ask questions of the nurses on the hallways. Look at the residents rooms to see how neat and clean they are. Are the beds made up. Are there clothes thrown around. This will give you some idea of the care the staff gives their residents.

If at all possible go to the facility during lunch or dinner time. This will give you an idea of what type of meals they serve. Do they look appealing so that your family member would eat it. Also look for the health rating of the kitchen. This must be published in a public area.

In the main lobby there should also be a calender of events that are taking place each day including the weekends. Are there plenty of activities taking place. Also ask to speak with the activity director and get a feel for what type of activites they provide. Do they take bus trips for their residents. Do they provide transportation to doctors appointments or will that be your responsibility. Does the facility provide what is called the "Eden Project". This is where there may be an animal like a cat, or dog that lives at the facility. This can be both good and bad for residents. They say animal therapy is extremely comforting to the residents. Also do they partner up with day care facilities so that young children can come and visit the elderly. This is especially fun at the holiday times like easter, valentines day, christmas, and many other ocassions.

Another great thing to check out is the Therapy Department.

This is one of the biggest things you want to look at especially if your family member is just getting out of the hospital with a fractures, or long stay in the hospital. A great therapy facility can motivate and work with your family member to get them back to an optimal state as soon as possible. Ask the therapy staff what type of exercises they provide for residents with stroke, hip fractures or other disabilities. Find out how often they work with the residents and how long they anticipate it might take for your family member to get back there ability to work, feed themselves or what ever the disability may be.

Just remember your instincts are the best thing you can follow. Ask neighbors and family members if they have any suggestions to any great nursing homes in your community. Remember if it does not feel right to you when you go in keep searching. The right facility is out there whether it is a newer facility or an older facility.

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Posted in Community Post Date 06/23/2017


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