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Nursing Home for Seniors that Need 24/7 Care – 10 Must Know Facts Christina Morales

July 22nd, 2014

nursing home for seniors that need 24/7 careFinding the right nursing home is one of the hardest decisions that you will ever have to make. It takes every ounce of energy from your heart and mind to find a place that will care for your loved one with the courtesy, respect, skill, compassion, and quality that they deserve.

You also must take into account the financial resources that you have available and the level of health that your loved one is at. Put all of that together and finding that perfect home can seem like a daunting task.

If you are looking for a residence that provides 24/7 care for seniors, here are 10 facts that you should take into consideration:

1)    Know where to look – Eldercare.gov is a great website that covers a multitude of topics. It can direct you to a variety of websites that provide a wealth of information. You can search for resources in your area or search by topic and you can even find a directory of nursing homes in your zip code (along with maps, website links, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses for each one).

CANHR is an excellent resource for California residents (www.canhr.org). It has an extensive list of nursing homes but it also has valuable facts about what to look for to ensure your loved one is being taken care of properly, what actions to take if you suspect neglect, and current events involving elder care.

2)    Observe the staff – This seems rather obvious, but it takes a special type of calling to work in a nursing home. Is the staff welcoming and do they take the time to talk to you? Are the caregivers interacting with their patients or just “doing their job”? Do the patients appear to be happy, well taken care of, and appear to have proper hygiene? Is there a high turnover of nurses and administration or does the staff tend to stick around for a while?

3)    Decisions, decisions – DO let your loved one in on the decision making process (as much as they are capable). This is a sad, stressful, and scary time full of life changing transitions. Many seniors feel that they are handing over control and feel helpless. If they are unable to tour the facilities, provide pictures or brochures and let them feel like they have a say in their future. Take time to pack, reminisce, and choose what items are most important to take to their new home.

4)    Medical procedures – If a medical problem arises, how will the nursing home notify you and what is the protocol for helping the patient? Will he or she be moved to a hospital? Are there enough RN’s on duty to care for more complex matters? How many doctors are usually present or on call?

5)    Nickel and Dimed – Get a detailed account of what procedures and what level of care is included in your monthly bill. Many nursing homes charge extra if a patient falls or needs assistance to get to the dining hall. It would be a shame to move your loved one into a home only to find out that you can’t afford the additional charges that you didn’t know were coming.

6)    Level of care – Determine with the staff or your doctor what type of accommodations would be best. The level of care needed is a factor to consider not only when choosing a facility, but also when deciding on living arrangements. If your loved one is still independent but battles dementia or health issues, an apartment may be appropriate.

For patients who battle advanced Alzheimer’s or are on a ventilator, a more hospital like setting would be required. Furthermore, if your loved one has a rare condition or special needs, you will have to find a nursing home that is capable of addressing those issues.

7)    Medicare and Medi-Cal – Like I mentioned earlier, nursing home care does not come cheap; most average between $200 per day or $6,000 per month. Most people tend to need financial assistance, so find those senior homes that accept these government programs.

8)    Location – The closer a patient is to family and visitors, the healthier they tend to be. Stay close to those who will visit most often.

9)    Walk the halls – Nothing can take the place of going to the nursing home in person and seeing the sights first hand. We all know brochures and websites can take a ton of iStock photography and make their facility look like a virtual resort. This goes along with Point #2, but also look at the actual room or a room nearby that your loved one may occupy.

  • Does the facility smell and look clean? Also, when you have narrowed it down to two or three nursing homes, visit at different times of the day or days of the week.
  • Do volunteers come in regularly?
  • What activities are available for your loved one to interact with others?
  • Do volunteers come in regularly?
  • What quality of life will your loved one have here on a daily basis?

10)    Available services – There is so much more to a facility than just a building and medical care.

  • What activities are available for your loved one to interact with others?
  • What does the food taste like?
  • Do volunteers come in regularly?
  • Is the building, lobby, and dining hall attractive?
  • What quality of life will your loved one have here on a daily basis?

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