ARTICLE: How to Choose a Nursing Home for a Parent

How to Choose a Nursing Home for a Parent

When your parents reach the age where they start to be mentally or physically incapable and can no longer take care of themselves, relocating them to a nursing home may be the best option.  Unfortunately, this process can be confusing, difficult and stressful. Your parent may have no interest in relocating and you may be facing significant confusion on how to start planning for this move.

How you can you prepare yourself to help your parent with this transition? What can make this complicated process more straightforward? We have found that for our clients, when you are equipped with good information it can be easier to choose the right skilled nursing facility and the options feel less overwhelming. If you need assistance determining where to start right now, we have resources for you in this article that you can use.

Let us share a few common questions we suggest our clients consider asking the nursing home employees when they are interviewing during the selection process. While this is not an exhaustive list, it can get you started in finding the right, safe place for your parent to live now that he or she needs more assistance.

1. Is the nursing home close to a reputable hospital?

When nursing homes are located in close proximity to a reputable hospital, you can rest easier that your parent can be taken care of in case of a medical emergency. While many nursing homes have the proper resources to handle most medical issues, sometimes the situation escalates beyond what the facility is equipped to deal with internally. In these instances, health care must be administered in the hospital.  Learn as much as you can not only about the nursing facility but about the hospital it sends patients to in an emergency. Do not wait to determine if both the hospital and the nursing home are specifically trained to meet your parent’s specific condition such as diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease or cancer.

2. Does the nursing home have qualified staff and facilities equipped to meet your parent’s needs?

To expand on the point made above, if your parent is entering a nursing home for a specific illness that impacts seniors such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, dementia, or stroke, you want to make sure the skilled nursing facility is qualified to administer this type of care. Some nursing homes will be trained to handle specific conditions while others only care for seniors with less acute needs. Be sure the staff is well-equipped to handle any medical issues or requirements your parent may have at this time. Additionally, if your parent is prone to wandering, be sure the nursing homes you are considering have a secure or locked area.

3. What are the staff turnover rates?

Nursing homes with high staff turnover rates can raise a red flag for two reasons. First, if employees are continuously leaving, there may be something wrong with the management or the nursing home itself. If staff members are unhappy or disgruntled, the level of care they may provide to your parent could be less than satisfactory. Second, a constant rotation of nursing home staff could allow for inconsistent care for your parent at a time he or she begins to rely on routine. When employees are there for longer periods of time, they will be able to get to know your parent better. Not only does this create a more nurturing environment for your parent, it also allows them to consistently observe your parent and better observe potential medical issues.

4. Are the residents happy?

While you may not be able to directly ask the employees if the residents are happy, take a tour. Visit over lunch. Look around when you tour the facilities. Do not wait to ask the residents questions.  This is your chance to get to know the place your parent will live. Chances are, if the residents are happy, well-fed, and comfortable, you can rest a little easier knowing your parent will receive a similar level of care.

This is an important decision. Start by doing your research and asking the right questions for your family. Determine and know your priorities before you get started. These tips and questions can help finding a nursing home for your parent a much easier process. Do you have questions on this type of planning right now? Do not wait to talk to our office about what you need today!

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We at Roth Elder Law, PLLC, believe in providing services in a way that clients can easily understand and meaningfully participate in designing and maintaining their estate plan for their loved ones, as well as be assured that their plan will be administered according to their wishes.