Making the Best Decision
Finding the right nursing home can be a difficult, and often emotional, experience. The decision to place a loved one in the care of a nursing home is not one that should be taken lightly. In the past, nursing homes have carried a stigma, and many were institutions with a negative reputation. While this is not always the case today, your loved one might still harbor these negative feelings toward nursing home care, and so choosing the right nursing home is essential.
Most of us will only have to investigate nursing homes once in a lifetime – and that means that we may come to the task unprepared and uncertain as to what to look for. But you are not alone. Many have gone through the experience before, and that body of experience has led to a set of guidelines that will be helpful to anyone trying to identifying possible homes for a loved one.
First, references can prove invaluable. Get references and recommendations from friends, coworkers, Internet forums and communities, nonprofit organizations, and anyone else willing to help. Once the list is narrowed down and you visit the facility, get references from the facility itself. Ask for the names of family members of current residents who would be willing to talk to you about the quality of care at the facility. Ask residents themselves, as they are in the same position as your family member will be.
Next, think about location. The facility should be close enough to you and your family that regular visits will be possible. The reason for this is twofold – first, visits are good for the emotional and psychological well-being of your loved one, and second, the care provided by a nursing home is often better or more consistent if they know that a family member could drop by any time. And so a good location, close and easily accessible, makes sense for a variety of reasons.
Once you have made a list of potential facilities, visit the site. It's fine to schedule an official visit, but you should also drop by on at least one occasion unannounced. This will allow you to compare the facility and behavior of the staff when they are putting their best foot forward to when they are caught off guard.
Finally, involve your loved one in the decision. It will be easier on the family as a whole if everyone agrees and there is no lingering resentment. The decision to place a family member in a nursing home is not an easy one, but with a little planning, it can be the best choice for everyone involved.
Please remember to read over our nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect information to keep your loved one safe. You should also know that should any form of nursing home abuse or neglect happen, a qualified nursing home abuse lawyer is ready to help you and your loved one.
"Nursing Home Issues." November 23, 2009. http://www.aaacap.org/nhi.html (accessed January 16, 2010).