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Choosing A Nursing Home:

When You Can't Do It All Yourself:

So you have finally come to the painful realization that you cannot do it all yourself; you need help. You know it would be best for your loved one, your family and yourself to seek nursing home placement. But where do you go from here? How to you pick a nursing home, a place where Mom or Dad could be happy; where they could have a good quality of life, and you wouldn’t feel so guilty?

After you and your personal physician discuss the type of services needed, obtain a list of nursing facilities in your area offering those services. Your doctor, social worker, or hospital case manager will be familiar with area nursing homes. Friends and neighbors may be able to offer information if they know someone in a nearby facility.

Here is a general checklist of some of the things to consider when choosing a nursing home. All information should be examined carefully, and supplemented by a visit to the home itself. Numbers and statistics can be “crunched”, but resident care is more obvious.

1. Is the nursing home Medicare and Medicaid certified?

2. Very important: is the nursing home located nearby, so that family and friends may visit?

3. Is the nursing home free from unpleasant odors, and does it appear clean and well kept?

4. Are the noise levels in the dining room and other common areas comfortable?

5. Are the furnishings sturdy, comfortable and attractive?

6. Does staff appear friendly and respectful, and do they wear name tags?

7. Does the nursing home run background checks on all employees and provide a continuing education program for all staff?

8. May residents have personal belongings and access to a TV and telephone?

9. Are there smoke detectors, fire alarms, sprinklers, and clearly marked Exits?

10. Are there handrails in the hallways and bathrooms, and are all public areas wheel chair accessible?

11. Does the staff assist residents who need help at mealtimes?

12. Are there a variety of activities available to residents?

13. Intangibles: Last but not least, come intangible considerations: things that cannot be measured, only felt:

     a. What is the atmosphere of the nursing home? Is it truly “home-like”?

     b. Are there any pets or children around?

     c. Do the residents seem reasonably happy?

     d. Is there a nice outdoor area for residents?

     e. Does the staff seem friendly and caring, and make eye contact?

Have you seen this bumper sticker around?

“BE NICE TO YOUR KIDS- THEY GET TO PICK YOUR NURSING HOME!”

Maybe it’s not so funny after all!