As people age, they may need more help with activities of daily living and medical care. For many, this means moving to a nursing home. Nursing homes provide around-the-clock care and supervision for residents who can’t live independently.
If you’re considering a nursing home for yourself or a loved one, it’s important to choose carefully. All nursing homes are not the same. Some offer better quality care than others.
What are the different types of nursing homes?
There are two main types of nursing homes: skilled nursing facilities and long-term care facilities.
Skilled nursing facilities provide short-term, around-the-clock care for people who need medical attention but don’t need to be in a hospital. These facilities have nurses on staff at all times and offer physical, occupational, and speech therapy.
Long-term care facilities provide long-term, around-the-clock care for people with chronic illnesses or disabilities. These facilities don’t have doctors on staff, but they do have nurses who can provide basic medical care.
How can you find a nursing home that will meet the needs of your loved one?
Start by getting recommendations from friends, family, and your healthcare provider. You can also check with your state’s long-term care ombudsman. This is a person who advocates for nursing home residents.
Then, visit the nursing homes you’re considering. Pay attention to how the staff treats residents and whether the facility is clean and well-maintained.
When you visit, ask to see the nursing home’s most recent inspection report. This report includes information on the quality of care at the facility.
You can also get information about a nursing home from Medicare.gov and Medicaid.gov. These websites have ratings of nursing homes that participate in Medicare or Medicaid.
What are some factors to consider when choosing a nursing home?
Here are some factors to consider when choosing a nursing home:
- Location: You’ll want to choose a nursing home that’s close to friends and family. This will make it easier for them to visit you or your loved one.
- Cost: Nursing homes can be expensive. Make sure you understand the cost before you make a decision.
- Services: Consider the services offered by the nursing home. Does the facility offer the level of care your loved one needs?
- Size: Nursing homes come in all sizes. Some are small and intimate while others are large and impersonal. Think about what size would be best for your loved one.
How can you pay for a nursing home?
There are a number of ways to pay for a nursing home. These include:
- Medicaid: Medicaid is a government program that pays for medical care for low-income people. In some states, Medicaid will pay for all or part of the cost of nursing home care.
- Medicare: Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people 65 and older. It doesn’t cover the full cost of nursing home care, but it does cover some of the costs.
- Long-term care insurance: Long-term care insurance is insurance that you purchase to help pay for long-term care expenses. Not all policies cover nursing home care, so be sure to read the fine print before you buy a policy.
- Personal funds: You can pay for nursing home care out of your own pocket. This is often the most expensive option, but it may be the only option if you don’t qualify for Medicaid or Medicare.
What are some red flags to watch out for when visiting a nursing home?
Here are some red flags to watch out for:
- Unlicensed staff: Make sure the facility has a license to operate. You can check with your state’s licensing board to see if the facility is licensed.
- Poorly trained staff: The staff should be well-trained and able to answer your questions.
- Medication errors: Medication errors are a serious concern in nursing homes. Be sure to ask about the facility’s medication policies and procedures.
- Lack of activities: Nursing home residents should have opportunities to participate in activities. If the facility doesn’t offer any activities, that’s a red flag.
- Dirty or unsafe conditions: The nursing home should be clean and well-maintained. Look for signs of mold, mildew, or pests. Also, make sure the facility is up to date on its fire safety regulations.
- Poor communication: The staff should be able to communicate effectively with residents and their families. If you have trouble getting information from the staff, that’s a red flag.
If you see any of these red flags, it’s important to talk to the staff or administrator about your concerns. If you’re not satisfied with their response, you may want to consider another nursing home.
What if you suspect that your loved ones are being mistreated in a nursing home?
If you suspect that your loved ones are being mistreated in a nursing home, it’s important to report it. You can make a report to the facility administrator, the state long-term care ombudsman, or your local law enforcement agency.
You should also contact an attorney who specializes in elder abuse cases. An attorney can help you investigate the allegations and take legal action if necessary.
Now that you know how to find the best nursing home for your loved ones, it’s time to make a decision. Use the tips in this article to help you choose a facility that meets your loved one’s needs. And if you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to contact an elder abuse attorney for help.