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Good Nursing Home Care

By on August 18, 2014

If you need to go to a nursing home after a hospital stay or if you are selecting a facility for a loved one, you want to do your homework. It could mean life and death as recent headlines reveal not all nursing home care is good care.

First, always ask your doctor’s office for some recommendations. Go online and search local choices. You can likely choose a safe nursing home in seven steps.

Consider. Know what is important to you—nursing care, meals, physical therapy, a religious connection, hospice care, or Special Care Units for dementia patients? Do you want a place close to family and friends so they can easily visit? Prioritize your care needs.

Ask Around. Be proactive and talk with friends, relatives, social workers, and religious groups to find out what places they suggest. Google facilities to check online reputation. Check with healthcare providers about which nursing homes they feel provide good to great care. Add these suggestions to your list of homes.

Call. Get in touch with each place on your list. Ask questions about how many people live there and what it costs. Find out about waiting lists.

Visit. Meet with the director and the nursing director. The Medicare Nursing Home Checklist has some good ideas to consider when visiting. For example, look for:

  • Diversity of staff and clients
  • Specialized care for Alzheimer’s, stroke, etc.
  • Medicare and Medicaid certification
  • Handicap access
  • Resident wellness

Talk. Be prepared to ask lots of questions. For example, ask the staff to explain any strong odors, security for intruders and internal safety, etc. You might want to find out how many safety incidents have occurred in the last year, how are retention rates, staff safety training, etc.

Male nurse helping African American senior patient

Visit again. Make a second visit without calling ahead. Try another day of the week or time of day so you will meet other staff members and see different activities. Stop by at mealtime. Is the dining room attractive and clean? Does the food look appetizing?

Understand. Once you select a nursing home, carefully read the contract. Talk to an attorney before you sign anything. Ask a good friend or family member to read over the contract before you sign it.

Content for this article provided by the National Institute for Health, Medicare