Deciding to put a loved one in a nursing home is a difficult decision and one that often leaves families feeling guilty and confused. At the end of the day, however, it is about caring for them in the best way possible, and sometimes a nursing home is not only the best option but the only option. The most important thing however is to evaluate the needs of the senior in order to find the best match to meet their needs.
Talk to a Geriatric Manager.
One way to ease the process is by talking to a geriatric manager to help you decide on the best senior facility. Geriatric managers are often nurses, social workers and psychologists with an expertise in geriatrics. They will be able to explain the different levels of care to be considered such as continuing care retirement communities, assisted living facilities and skilled nursing facilities.
Find and Tour Multiple Options.
Use the internet or phone book and find five facilities close to you that offer the level of care needed. Call and make arrangements to visit the facilities. Make note of how the staff answers the phone and handles your questions. If at all possible, bring your loved one with you to tour the facility.
Be Critical of the Facilities.
Remember that when on the tour, the facility is probably at its very best and if there is anything that doesn’t seem right it probably isn’t.
Upon entering the facility, make a note of your first impressions. How does it look and smell? Is it bright and cheery or dark and gloomy? Does it feel welcoming?
Note how you are received by the reception staff. Do they immediately welcome you? Give you eye contact?
Be sure and ask for an information packet on the facility. Trust your eyes, ears and nose during the tour.
Be aware of your surroundings; residents, staff, family, sounds and odors.
What is the atmosphere like on the units? Is it calm? How does the staff interact with the patients?
Look at the floor, even in the corners. Is it clean? Look at the walls and under beds. Is it clean and clutter free? How safe does it look?