Senior womanEveryone grows old. When that time comes and our loved ones won’t be able to take care of themselves, it’s time to look for a good nursing home. Sending our parents or old relatives to a nursing home isn’t all that bad, especially when we know that they will be safer and well cared for. That’s if you can find a quality nursing home for them. Not all nursing homes can give the same attention to your loved ones, so you have to compare them. To help you choose, I have listed ten things to look for in a nursing home.

  1. Location. You should look for a nursing home that is conveniently placed near your house. You want to be there frequently to visit your loved ones to give them the assurance that you still love them. Not only that, but letting the nurses and administrators see you will minimize the risk of abuse for your loved one and other patients.
  2. Professional staff. You shouldn’t simply look for a licensed nursing home even though you might think that is enough. The staff should be certified by the state, especially the nurses who will administer your family member.  It’s good to verify that several on staff are trained for emergency care both critical medical care as well as natural disasters or other tragic events.
  3. Respectful staff. Even if the staff are great in their duties like taking care of elders and cleaning the rooms, the way they interact with them should be scrutinized. Don’t ever leave your elderly loved ones with people who can’t respect them. Before you choose a nursing home, inspect the place first and see how the patients are being treated.  If you can talk to relatives of other patients, that is absolutely ideal.
  4. Cheerful environment. We don’t want to place our loved ones in a sad, dreary place. What we want is for them to enjoy the remaining years of their life in the comfort of a safe and happy environment full of good people. A cheerful environment will at least guarantee that the nursing home won’t be boring.  Find out what activities they have for the patients.  Do they have organized games and other entertainment to make living there more fun?
  5. Fully furnished rooms. The rooms need not look like a 5-star hotel rooms after all this is a medical facility. But the place should be comfortable, with proper ventilation and a nice bed. It’s also better if it has a good sitting area and a table and chair set for them to entertain visitors.
  6. Complete safety features. It should have smoke alarms in case something happens. These should be put in every room in the nursing home, including the bathroom and living room areas. Elders won’t be very quick to move, so when a fire breaks out, they will have a hard time. Another safety feature would be handrails everywhere. As elders, they could easily lose balance. Unless there are handrails, they might fall down.
  7. A clean record. You can look at their public health inspections and see whether there has been any recent violations. If there are, the problems should have already been resolved. You can never be too sure, so this is really important. However, although there are currently no problems, their record should still be good. If they have violations each year then you know to pass on that nursing home.
  8. Positive opinions of patients. This is particularly important, because if most of the patients don’t like the place, chances are, your relative will not too. Interview the patients as to how they are being treated and how the accommodations are. Take note that some elders are pretty stingy, so don’t always depend on their opinions. Seek out friendlier people and you will get more honest answers.
  9. No abuse whatsoever. If possible, you might want to visit or tour the nursing home at different times of day and as a surprise. This will let you know how patients are treated when they are without visitors. You can visit during meal times. That way, you can see what type of food they’re eating. Just because they’re old people doesn’t mean they can only eat oatmeal and soup.
  10. Stay within your budget. Don’t spend too much money on the nursing facility. Of course, you don’t have to place your loved ones in the cheapest nursing home you can find. There are some affordable homes that have similar facilities as the more exclusive ones, so choose well. Just because you placed your parents on an affordable place doesn’t mean you love them any less. I’m sure they understand the need to be frugal in these hard times.

It’s incredibly difficult to place your loved one in a nursing home and if you find yourself reading this as you prepare for doing just that, I wish you all the best in your decision.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for others going through this, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

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Filed under: Healthcare Administration

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