One of the most difficult decisions you may ever be faced with is choosing a nursing home for your parent. Recognizing that nursing home care is necessary to keep your parent safe and healthy does not make the task much easier. Once the decision has been made, however, the next step is to choose the best facility. The process of choosing a nursing home can be emotionally and physically exhausting given that your parent’s health and happiness are at stake. To get you started, the Essex Junction elder law attorneys at Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC offer some tips for picking the right nursing home.
Begin By Creating a List of Questions
Although many long-term care facilities provide competent and compassionate care to residents, the truth is that nursing home abuse and neglect do occur far too often in the United States. One in ten Americans aged 60 and older admit to having experienced some form of elder abuse, yet only one in every 14 cases of abuse is believed to be reported. Sadly, more than 40 percent of nursing home residents have reported abuse, and more than 90 percent report that they or other residents of the facility have been neglected.
While there is no way to eliminate the possibility that a loved one will become the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, asking the right questions when evaluating and choosing a facility can go a long way toward protecting your loved one. With that in mind, you may wish to consider asking the following questions when considering a nursing home:
- What is your staff-to-patient ratio?
- Is there a medical doctor on call 24/7?
- What is your procedure if a resident has an abuse or neglect complaint?
- What type of background investigation do you do on new hires?
- What is your staff turnover rate?
- Have you ever been disciplined or fined for a violation of state or federal laws or regulations?
- What social programs and/or activities are available for residents?
- Can I visit my parent anytime I want?
- Do residents have options for meals or is there a set menu for each meal?
- Do you offer transportation services?
Follow These Steps
After you have your list of questions prepared, follow some simple steps when choosing a nursing home for your parent, including:
- Discuss your parent’s health care needs with professionals. Schedule appointments with your loved one’s doctors and ask what is needed in terms of the level of care and any special medical needs your loved one may have. Add to that your own knowledge regarding medical needs if you have been providing care.
- Research facilities. Do your own research on facilities that interest you. One reliable source of information is the Vermont Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living, Divisions of Licensing and Protection searchable database. Along with finding licensed facilities in your area, you can also check to see if a facility has complaints filed against it.
- Schedule tours. Schedule official tours of your top five or six nursing home options. While touring each facility, try and talk to residents that are there. Pay attention to the things that matter most to you and your loved one and ask as many questions as possible.
- Show up unannounced. An official, scheduled tour is certainly necessary; however, you should also make a point of showing up when you are not expected so you get to see the facility in a different light.
Contact an Essex Junction Elder Law Attorney
For more information, please attend one of our upcoming FREE webinars. If you have questions or concerns about how to pick the right nursing home or other elder law issues, contact an experienced Essex Junction elder law attorney at Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC by calling 802-879-7133 to schedule your appointment today.