Deciding to place a family member in a nursing home is painful and difficult. Some families, however, have no other choice when the medical and physical demands make other options impossible. Choosing the right and appropriate home is not a task to be taken lightly. Families should make an appointment to tour each home in which they are interested. During each tour you should ask to see more than the public areas and visit several residents’ rooms. And, if possible, families should try to walk through the facility on their own, which will allow them this to experience it without input from staff or the managing director, who may have a one-sided or biased interpretation. Also you should ask if you can join the residents for lunch or dinner.
When families talk to the residents, they should ask them what they like most – and what they feel could be improved. The most important things to look into when talking with residents-things that will help you be the judge if a nursing home is appropriate for your loved one– are those that have to do with quality of life. What does “quality of life” in a nursing home mean? It means that each resident is entititled to things such as, receive care in a manner and in an environment that promotes dignity and respect; organize with other residents to discuss issues of common interest and concern; receive services that recognizes any residents’ special needs, such as food choices or accessability requirements; a program of activities that meets the residents interests, physical, mental and social abilities; and the opportunity to participate in social, religious, and community activities of their choice. All of the above lifestyle choices seem common sense, and, as a consquence, they are often overlooked by families.
Once you find a place that is suitable, it is also important to keep a diary of the events regarding the care of a family member. Sometimes there is lack of oversight in nursing homes regarding the training of nurses, as some nursing homes fail to perform background checks on temp nurses or have on staff nurses whose licenses were suspended–so families should be sure to find out that their loved one is receiving care from liscened professionals. Also, learning the name of the director of nursing, the medical director, and the times they are in the building is very important. Here at the Brod Law Firm, we believe there is no substitute for visting and seeing for yourself if a particular nursing home is acceptable. For we have heard many horror stories from families about relatives that were neglected or abused due to lack of oversight.