How can I find a nursing home for my loved one?

The decision to put a loved one in a nursing home is never an easy one. We like to think that the ones we love will never grow old or lose the ability to care for themselves. But this is a choice that many must face at some point, and the best thing family members can do for their loved ones is ensure that they end up somewhere they are comfortable and their needs are met.

While this is a difficult task, family members can find the best nursing home for their loved one by making a checklist of what it should offer and asking a few important questions during the evaluation process.

Facts to Consider

First, family members should always make sure any facility they are considering meets both their and their loved one’s needs. They can do this by checking off each bullet point on the following checklist:

Certifications: What certifications does the facility have? For instance, is it certified by Medicare or Medicaid? If so, when was the date of certification? Has it faced any disciplinary action from a regulatory body?
Staff: What is the ratio of staff members to residents? How does this compare to other facilities in the area? A high number of residents could be an indication that residents will not get the level of attention they need.
Events: Does the facility make sure to have fun and productive activities scheduled throughout the day? Do residents always have the ability to leave their room and move about the facility? Have any staff members forgotten a resident in his room?
Room Structure: Does the room set-up meet all involved parties’ needs and wishes? Do all residents have their own private room and bathroom or do residents share rooms?
Employees: What is the facility’s hiring process? What are the minimum requirements to work there in terms of education and experience? How extensive are background checks? What is the turnover rate?
Location: Family members should consider the location of the home. Will they be able to visit frequently or only once every month or two?

Other Questions to Ask

Once family members have gone through the checklist and, ideally, found one or two facilities that seem to pass the test, here are a few more questions to ask to make sure their loved one ends up in a good place.

How do staff members treat each other? The way staff members talk to and act around each other offers a good indication of how they treat residents. If they are rude, impatient, disrespectful, or use foul language, this behavior may transfer to their care of residents.

How do the residents spend their time? Family members considering a nursing home or assisted living facility should interview residents as well as the supervisor to determine how residents spend their days.

Are there activities all residents can join? A facility that fosters engagement between residents and gives them an outlet to pursue hobbies — such as painting, knitting, book clubs, and so on — makes the transition from self-care to assisted care much easier.

How does it smell and sound inside the facility? While a nursing home will have a variety of different smells, loved ones should note whether there is there an overwhelming smell of bodily odors (e.g., urine, vomit, feces) around the home. While many seniors are
unable to control their bodily functions, the nursing home staff should always keep residents clean.

Anyone touring a nursing home should also listen to the sounds of the nursing home. Do any staff members sound exasperated, stressed, or angry? This could be a sign of an abusive caregiver or an understaffed facility.

Family members should also keep an eye on how residents interact with staff members. A resident who seems fearful of a certain staff member could indicate abuse.

How is the food? Check out the dining facilities and take note of both the variety and the visual presentation of the food. As a person’s health deteriorates with old age, getting him to take in the nutrition he needs each day can become more challenging. Family members should ensure their loved ones end up in a place where the food is not only healthy, but looks and tastes good, too.

Do the residents seem happy? While not every resident will be thrilled to live at a nursing home, family members should keep their eyes out for unhappy, evasive, or frightened residents.

Does the senior seem happy? Once family members have narrowed their search to one or two facilities, they should visit each with their loved one. They should note their loved one’s reaction to the facility (keeping in mind that many elderly people do not want to live
in nursing homes).

If the senior has an extremely adverse reaction to the facility, family members should
discuss it with their loved one and consider taking that one off the list.

Tronfeld West & Durrett: Richmond Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Lawyers

Tronfeld West & Durrett hopes that all Virginia residents find the perfect place for their loved ones to live out their later years. However, this is not always the case. Virginia residents whose loved ones suffer neglect or abuse can hold the abuser liable. We can help: 804-358-6741.