When a loved one needs more help than can be provided at home, families turn to nursing homes. Nursing homes were created with the intention of caring for those who can no longer care for themselves. Unfortunately, there is a broad spectrum of nursing home quality. When deciding which nursing home is best for your loved one, there are several key factors to consider.In addition to the items discussed below, consider taking a Nursing Home Checklist on your visits.
A GOOD NURSING HOME HAS GOOD FOOD
As people age, they lose sensory sensitivity. Sometimes, they also lose interest in eating. While mass produced food adds challenges, it is reasonable to expect a nursing home can produce food that is visually appealing, offers a variety of tastes, and can comply with dietary restrictions. This will encourage residents to eat at every meal.
A GOOD NURSING HOME HAS RESPECTFUL STAFF
Listen to how the staff address the residents. Do they know the resident’s names, or do they address their charges as “Hey, you,” or “Mister” or “Grandma”? A good nursing home expects their staff to recognize their patients as individuals and with dignity. This includes addressing them by name. Some residents like to be addressed by their first name, while others prefer to be addressed as “Mr. Olson” or “Mrs. Johnson.” The staff should know and always use their names.
A GOOD NURSING HOME IS CLEANED REGULARLY
A nursing home should be cleaned regularly and should not smell like urine or feces. An overpowering smell of urine is an indication the home does not regularly and properly clean the floors, the beds, or the patients.
A GOOD NURSING HOME ENCOURAGES RESIDENT PARTICIPATION
Visit a nursing home in the middle of the afternoon. Are the halls silent? Are all the residents in their rooms watching television alone? A nursing home that encourages residents to participate in activities during the day is far preferable. There should be a daily calendar of activities to keep residents engaged.
A GOOD NURSING HOME TAILORS CARE
Policies reflect the attitude of the business. Ask about policies, such as how to engage residents in activities if they are bed bound, how often briefs are changed, how frequently patients are turned to prevent bedsores. Also ask for the policies on staff, including who will be available to provide care to your loved one.
A GOOD NURSING HOME HAS GOOD STAFFING
Ask how many nurses and aides will be caring for your loved one, and how many other residents they’ll provide care for. Ask about overtime hours and double shifts. A good nursing home has adequate staff to make sure the hours are covered by employees who come to the job fresh and ready for the shift, not exhausted due to routinely working double shifts. A good nursing home will also provide adequate staff to care for all the needs of your loved one.
A GOOD NURSING HOME ANSWERS QUESTIONS
If you are visiting a nursing home and observe something disturbing, ask. If a nursing home cannot explain something to your satisfaction, this is a red flag.
A GOOD NURSING HOME IS OPEN ABOUT POLICIES
Nursing homes have policies and procedures governing everything from how to care for patients with dementia to how many staff must be present during meal times. A good nursing home doesn’t keep these policies a secret. You should be able to review policies upon request.
A GOOD NURSING HOME ENCOURAGES VISITS
One cannot overstate the positive effects of visits from loved ones. A good nursing home welcomes visitors without hesitation. A nursing home that frowns upon or discourages family visits should be avoided.
IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING A NURSING HOME
If you are considering a nursing home for a loved one, you have many things to consider. The attorneys at Miller Kory Rowe LLP believe nursing home residents should be treated with dignity and the highest level of respect and care. If you have concerns about a loved one’s well-being, contact us at (602) 648-4045. We are here to help.