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Elder Law of Louisville's Blog

Monday, January 17, 2011

How to Choose a Nursing Home

Few things are more stressful than finding a nursing home for a loved one. Everyone has heard nursing home horror stories and no one wants that to happen to a loved one. While there is no way to guarantee that nothing will go wrong, some careful research and planning can help reassure you. You should consider the following criteria when looking for a nursing home.

Location

No single factor is more important to quality of care and quality of life of a nursing home resident than visits by family members. Visits can be the high point of the day or week for the nursing home resident. So, make it as easy as possible for family members and friends to visit.
 
Special Needs

Make sure the facility can meet any special needs the resident may have, including a ventilator, psychiatric care, or extra supervision. If the resident has dementia, the facility will need to be one that handles dementia patients. Make sure the staff is properly trained for dementia patients. There should be enough staff, especially at night, and staff members should be assigned to a particular resident.
 
Personal Needs

Can the facility meet personal needs, such as religious or ethnic needs? Also, if the resident speaks a language other than English, are there staff members who speak the same language?
 
References

Ask the facility to provide the names of family members of residents so you can ask them about the care provided in the facility and the staff's responsiveness when the resident or relatives raise concerns.
 
Do Research

www.Medicare.gov allows you to get three years worth of inspection reports on the nursing homes you are considering. Find out who owns the facility and if they own any other nursing homes, and see if you can get reports for those nursing homes as well. In addition, talk to the long-term care ombudsman in your state to find out if there have been complaints against the nursing homes you are considering. http://www.ltcombudsman.org/ombudsman/kentucky
 
Interview the Administration and Staff

Talk to the nursing home administrator or nursing staff about how care plans are developed for residents and how they respond to concerns expressed by family members. Make sure you are comfortable with the response. It is better that you meet with and ask questions of the people responsible for care and not just the person marketing the facility.
 
Tour the Nursing Home
Try not to be impressed by a fancy lobby or depressed by an older, more rundown facility. What matters most is the quality of care and the interactions between staff and residents. Observe how the staff interacts with the patients, how well residents are attended to and whether they are treated with respect. Also, investigate the quality of the food service. Eating is both a necessity and a pleasure that continues even when we're unable to enjoy much else.
 
Contact a Professional

Our best advice is to contact a professional who can help you place your family member in the right facility. If you do use a professional, you should understand how that person is compensated and why they are recommending a particular facility. Please contact our office for our recommended list of professionals.

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The attorneys of Elder Law of Louisville (formerly Walsh & Wilson, PLLC) assist clients in Louisville, Kentucky and surrounding counties of Jefferson, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer, and Bullitt. Our Office also serves Southern Indiana and the towns of New Albany, Jeffersonville, and Clarksville.



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