Choosing a Nursing Home

Placing a loved one in a nursing home should always be the last resort. If your loved one simply cannot do tasks such as remembering to take medicines or cooking anymore, the best option is for this loved one to move in with a relative and someone can help with medicines and meals. Also, if your loved is physically disabled and requires a wheelchair, look at making their house handicapped accessible so the person can continue to live at home.

If you must put your loved one in a nursing home because she/he has severe dementia that has resulted in him/her not being able to go to the bathroom or getting in/out of bed anymore, look at private home health care first. Check out Nursing Home Alternatives.

After you have exhausted nursing home alternatives, you need to go and visit different nursing homes to determine which one is the best.

Some important tips are:

1.) Ask a lot of questions about the staff and resident turnover. If it is short staffed, there is a risk that your loved one will be neglected some.

2.) Meet the director of nursing, administrator, and head nurses and ask them questions about how they care for residents.

3.) Be sure to ask the nursing home facility about how they prevent falls and what they do if a nursing home resident with severe dementia leans out of her/his wheelchair a lot. Do they provide supervision to residents who are at a high risk of falling? Ask them how they respond when a resident falls. Do they implement a plan to prevent another fall? Any good nursing home would make sure that residents at high risk of falling out of their wheelchair would never be left unsupervised and unattended. Those high risk residents should be put in the front of the nurses’ station where they can be watched or perhaps an activity room with at least one staff member supervising.

4.) Check the facility for cleanliness and smells.

5.) Ask how often residents who need assistance with bathing are bathed.

6.) Ask how often a doctor comes to the facility to check on residents.

7.) Ask who gives medicines to residents and how they can ensure that all medicines be given correctly.

8.) Ask them if they allow male nurses or nursing assistants to do intimate procedures on female residents. If the answer is yes, encourage them to make a policy to prohibit male nurses and assistants from doing intimate procedures on female nursing home residents due to potential sexual abuse and the fact many women are not comfortable with males for intimate care. Check out How Nursing Homes Can Respect Residents’ Dignity and Prevent Sexual Abuse.

Make sure you visit your loved one in nursing home regularly and at different times to see how she/he is taken care of. Also, make sure you take any pictures or videos of any injuries or conditions such as bed sores that may happen in case you need to file a lawsuit later on. Also, make sure that the power of attorney for the resident is a person who is not afraid to challenge medical professionals and understands the importance of suing if there’s nursing home negligence or abuse.

Some Resources to Check Out:

Six Questions You Should Ask Before Choosing a Nursing Home

Five things to consider when choosing a nursing home

Top 5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Nursing Home in Your Area


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