CHICAGO, IL – The novel coronavirus is uprooting many areas of life for people across the world. For families that considering nursing home care for their loved one, it’s causing people to rethink such a move. Nursing homes have been the epicenter of coronavirus outbreaks, which certainly can lead to concern; however, this doesn’t mean you should stop looking into nursing homes.
While COVID-19 is certainly a risk factor that one should consider, families should also consider nursing home abuse and illness outbreaks happen daily in nursing home settings. No matter what the concerns are, there are some things that families can do to research and find a quality nursing home facility for their loved one – even during a pandemic.
Determine a Budget
One of the first steps while choosing a nursing home is determining what your family can afford. First, start by determining how much care your loved one needs. Does he or she require daily medical care and supervision? Does he or she need limited care, such as assistance with meals or medication reminders? These are things that will factor into the cost.
Determining the amount of care your loved one needs will help determine if you need assisted living or nursing home care. This will also help you narrow down your budget which will narrow down your field of choices.
Nursing homes can be more expensive because they require more specialized staff, nursing staff, and medical care. Nursing homes tend to have much stricter regulations, such as regulations for staffing, services, and food safety. On the other hand, assisted living facilities have less restricted regulations because there is less involvement in the daily needs of their residents.
Use Online Resources for Your Search
There are several legitimate online resources and tools you can use to help identify and review nursing homes you may be considering. If you are considering a facility that accepts Medicaid or Medicare, the best place to start your search is utilizing Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare tool. This tool is excellent to use because they have data on staffing, data on incidents, and can tell you the number of residents that have suffered from bedsores.
You can also find information through your state’s long-term care Ombudsman office. The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program offers important information about nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Visit the Facility
Before deciding on a nursing home, it’s important to visit the facility first. Don’t just settle for an informal meeting with the administrator – talk to the staff members who will potentially be caring for your loved one. Ask to meet with the nursing director and nursing assistants (CNAs). These are the people who will be interacting and caring for your loved one the most. It’s important to take note of what they’re saying and what their attitudes are like. Do they have a mean demeanor? Do they seem to enjoy their work? Do they seem tired or overwhelmed? Notice how they come across now and imagine how they will respond to your loved ones needs during a difficult shift.
Do More than a Guided Tour
Most nursing homes offer a guided tour of the facility and show where your loved one will be sleeping, the activity area, and the dining room. This is a great way to see an overview of the facility and what they have to offer, but this should not be the only way to assess the facility. When visiting, be mindful of a few things:
- Residents – Do residents seem to be well-groomed? Do they seem to be happy? Are they actively moving around?
- Food Service – Take note of what meals look like and how residents are reacting. Do they seem to enjoy it? Are residents complaining about the food quality?
- Smells – Do you notice a smell or urine or strong cleaning products?
- Sounds – Does it sound pleasant? Is there music playing? Do you hear upset residents that are crying or grumbling?
When visiting a nursing home, these are important factors to consider. If anything seems off to you, it’s likely a sign that this isn’t the best nursing home suited for your loved one.
Discuss Important Issues Before Signing Paperwork
Once you’ve narrowed down your list on possible nursing homes, it’s important to discuss certain issues before you sign any paperwork. It’s important to discuss your loved ones medical records since you can’t assume you will have access to their medical records once they are living at the facility. Ask the facility what they require to make sure you have all relevant medical information to help make medical decisions.
You should also discuss the plan for your loved one’s care. Ask the nursing home facility how they establish a care plan for residents. Most facilities will have a meeting with nursing staff to discuss the resident’s needs where families should be present.
Do You Have Concerns about Your Loved Ones Care in a Nursing Home?
If you have questions or concerns about the care your loved one is receiving in a nursing home, contact the attorneys at the Dinizulu Law Group. We help families understand their legal rights and options to ensure their loved ones are safe. To request a free consultation, please call (312) 384-1920 or visit our website for more information.