4 Steps to Choosing the Right Nursing Home

Selecting the right nursing home for yourself or a loved one is a very important decision. As you begin this search, keep a notepad or document on your computer or mobile device handy so that you can take notes along the way. The below-included steps will help in your search for the right nursing home.

Identify the Local Nursing Homes

The first step in selecting the right nursing home is to identify all nursing homes in the desired area. You can reach out to family members, friends, or local doctors and hospitals to help you identify nursing homes in your area that provide the type of care you or a loved one might require. If those individuals cannot help, a quick internet search or review of Medicare’s website may help locate a nursing home.

In addition to listing out local nursing homes, Medicare’s website provides some comparisons between nursing homes—this may assist in the next stage of the process as listed below.

Research the Quality of Care They Provide

The second step in selecting the right nursing home is to research the quality of care they provide. There are various sources you may consult when determining the quality of care the nursing home offers. These include sites that allow consumers to post reviews (such as Yelp.com) and the comparison guides found on the Medicare and Medicaid websites. Further, once you have identified specific facilities, it may be helpful to consult survey results that they may publish regarding the facility’s care.

Visit the Nursing Homes

The third step is to visit the nursing homes that are at the top of your list. Once you narrow down the potential nursing home choices and select the top contenders, you should arrange a time to visit. You should call the respective nursing homes and ask to schedule a tour. At that tour, pay careful attention to the facility’s cleanliness, the residents’ attitude, and the various activities residents may be enjoying. While there, ask about the caregiver to resident ratio so that you can compare it to the other nursing homes you visit. Try to observe casual conversations to see if the caregivers afford each resident respect and attention.

You should also consider the meals offered and the opportunities provided for social, religious, recreational, or cultural needs. If possible, try to sample a meal and see both the quality and how residents are treated and interact during mealtimes.

After the initial visit, identify who you can call for additional questions. Try to schedule a time to drop by unexpectedly. This unexpected visit will allow you to see the nursing home on an ordinary day when the staff is not expecting visitors.

Choose the Right Nursing Home

The final step is to select the nursing home that is best for you or your loved one. Now that you have identified, researched, and visited a few choices, you can weigh the benefits of each and compare the total costs associated with each. You should also compare how each nursing home would provide for the social, spiritual, and other needs of you or your loved one.

Once you select the right nursing home, you should consult an estate planning or elder law attorney before signing any documents provided by the facility. For example, an experienced attorney can guide you through sections of any agreement that attempt to hold children responsible for unpaid bills or a required time delay on Medicaid applications. While there are some situations where a family is in sudden need of a nursing home for a loved one, starting the search early can ensure the best nursing home possible is selected.

The attorneys and staff of King Law provide Elder Law services throughout Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina.  Contact our office at 888-748-KING (5464), complete a request for consultation on our website or begin chatting with a member of our client service team.

For more articles on Elder Law, visit our Elder Law blog and request a free copy of our Elder Law eBook.

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