As children, we depend on our parents to take care of us. They are our nurturers, our caretakers, and our providers. As the years go on, this relationship changes. Our parents’ health declines and before we know it, we are the ones caring for our parents in their old age.
This role reversal can put a strain on families. Some children are not financially equipped to provide their loved ones with the care they need. Others have families of their own and are not able to devote as much time to taking care of their parents as they deserve. Others still live hundreds or thousands of miles away and simply cannot be a full-time caretaker.
This is why many children place their parents or family members in some kind of care facility. Unfortunately, finding the right facility isn’t always easy. Not only do you have to consider the type of care your family members require, you have to consider the location of the facility and how much it’s going to cost. If you are finding yourself in this situation, read on to learn more about how to pick a facility, what to look for, what to stay away from, and more.
Kinds of Nursing Homes
There are several different kinds of elderly care facilities out there. Each one depends on what kind of care your loved one needs and what medical conditions they have. It’s also important to consider your loved one’s mental state, physical abilities, and level of mobility when selecting the right type of care facility.
Of the different facilities, there are four that are fairly common:
Home Care: If your loved one isn’t quite ready to leave their home and still is mobile and active, home care can provide them some freedom while preparing them for the ultimate transition to a nursing facility. Caretakers can be hired to be present 24/7 or for certain hours each day to help your family member with basic tasks like getting dressed, shopping, and making meals.
Assisted Living: This type of care is very similar to living in an apartment. It’s ideal for individuals who can care for themselves for the most part. Facilities like this keep nurses on staff for when residents need additional aid.
Residential Care: This kind of care facility is small and may be run out of an individual’s home. These facilities are ideal for individuals who do not have any major medical or behavioral issues but would benefit from having 24/7 care available to them.
Nursing Homes: Loved ones who require frequent attention or have major medical problems, like Alzheimer’s, are best suited for nursing homes. In these facilities they will have access to trained medical professionals who can tend to their needs (feeding, bathing, etc.) and provide emergency medical attention if needed.
What to Look for in a Care Facility: Getting Started
When you’ve determined which type of facility is ideal for your family member, it’s time to visit facilities in your area. Looking for the right place is like shopping for a house. The more facilities you see, the harder it can be to figure out which is right for your family’s needs.
The best way to approach this process is by being prepared. Bring a pen and something to write on so you can make notes about each facility you visit. During your tours, be sure to look at the following areas:
Building: Make sure the building is in good condition. Signs of a well kept nursing facility might include nice landscaping, security systems, paved parking areas, wheelchair accessible features, a common outdoor area or courtyard, and a bay for emergency vehicles to use. A bad facility will likely be poorly kept, dilapidated, dirty, and have small rooms and unhappy residents.
Rooms: Rooms inside any care facility should have some natural light and be decorated nicely. You’ll want to make sure your loved one will have the furniture they need (bed, table, chair, etc.) without the room being overcrowded or messy. Assess the bathroom situation to make sure it accessible for those with limited mobility.
Residents: Monitor other residents. Do they look happy? Are they smiling, frowning, or crying? Do they seem bored? Are there entertainment options for them? You want to know that your loved one will have the option to stay in their room if they want or take part in any planned activities that may be offered.
Employees: Observe the staff members as you walk through the facility. You want to see employees that are professional, kind, and attentive. If they are rude or appear grumpy or unhappy, it may not be the best work environment. If the employees are not happy, the residents aren’t going to be either.
Questions to Ask
You want to make sure that your loved one is well taken care of. One of the ways to make sure you know everything you need to, is by having a list of questions prepared to ask at each facility tour. Below are some general questions you might want to ask:
- What is your Emergency Action Plan (EAP)?
- Do you provide organized outings for the residents or are they able to go outside themselves?
- How many beds does the facility have or what is the capacity?
- When are the visiting hours?
- Is this facility certified by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare(JCAHO)?
- What kind of security measures are in place?
- Do you offer transportation services?
Additionally, ask the following questions of yourself during your tour:
- Are friends and family able to visit easily? Is it convenient for them to get to?
- How far is the facility or nursing home from your loved one’s doctor?
- Is the building located in a quiet place and away from major roads or highways?
Resources to Check
Your family physician or primary care provider may help you when it comes to choosing the right nursing home or care facility. You can also make use of several websites to help you make the right choice.
These websites are just a few that can help in your search:
Dealing with Neglect
Not every facility is run the way it should be. Unfortunately, there are some facilities that turn a blind eye to abusive caretakers or staffers. Some facilities may not even be properly licensed. Know the signs of nursing home abuse and visit your loved ones regularly to ensure they’re being treated with respect and dignity.
The lawyers at Boller & Vaughan have years of experience helping the victims of nursing home abuse and assisted living abuse. If you think your loved one may be suffering abuse or neglect, do not hesitate to contact us. We’ll fight for the rights of your elderly family member and seek the compensation they may be entitled to. Schedule a free consultation today by filing out this form or calling us at 608-268-0268.