As an adult child, one of the most difficult decisions you will ever have to face is the decision to put a parent in a nursing home. If, however, your parent needs the type or level of care that you are unable to provide, choosing to find a nursing home for your parent is in his/her best interest. Once you have made the decision that a nursing home is the best option, the equally difficult task of finding the right facility is the next hurdle to get past. To make sure you find the right nursing home for your parent, the Grand Forks elder law attorneys at German Law discuss five steps to take to help you find the right long-term care facility.
- Define Your Needs and Wants. Long-term care (LTC) is needed for a wide variety of reasons. Consequently, not all facilities provide the same type and/or level of care. Some provide more intense medical care for bedridden patients, for example, while others may offer specialized care for dementia patients. One nursing home might focus on social programs while another on counseling programs. To ensure that the LTC facility you choose is a good fit for your parent, take some time to define your parent’s needs and wants before you even start the search.
- Seek Referrals. At the end of the day, LTC facilities are in the service industry. As with other services, sometimes the best way to find a good one is to ask around for a referral. Almost everyone has had some experience with nursing homes. Talk to family members, friends, and co-workers about their experiences and opinions. You may find that one or two names keep coming up as being excellent facilities. Conversely, you may find that a facility continuously gets negative feedback, which can also be valuable.
- Do Your Research. Spend some time researching potential LTC facilities in the relevant area. The internet can be a valuable source of information if you know where to look. The facility’s website is a good start; however, do not base decisions solely on what you read on the nursing home’s own website. Chances are good you will also find reviews of the facility all over the internet with just a few keyboard strokes.
- Check for Complaints and Violations. Always check to see if a potential nursing home has been the target of complaints or has been cited for violating any of the state and/or federal regulations You can check much of that by contacting the North Dakota Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. Although most facilities will eventually be guilty of a minor violation or two; a facility with a lengthy history of complaints and/or numerous serious violations should be ruled out immediately.
- See for Yourself. Once you have narrowed the list down to less than five potential nursing homes, make an appointment to tour each facility. Because this is an official, scheduled visit, you should be able to talk to the administrator/manager at each facility as well as get a complete tour of the facility. While there, have a list of questions ready, such as:
- What is the staff-patient ratio?
- Is there a licensed physician available 24/7?
- What type of social programs are available?
- Can the residents spend time outside?
- What do the meals look like?
- How often are patients seen by a physician?
- What is the procedure for a medical emergency?
- What happens if we have a complaint?
Contact Grand Forks Elder Law Attorneys
Please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about how to find the right long-term care facility or other elder law questions, contact the Grand Forks elder law attorneys at German Law by calling 701-738-0060 to schedule an appointment.