Planning Your Nursing Home Visit
Planning Your Nursing Home Visit
Even if everything sounds just perfect on paper, you should always take time to visit any of your nursing home considerations personally. To get a good idea of how the nursing home really is, this will generally take two visits.
The first visit will be to hear the nursing home’s “sales pitch.” You will want to schedule this for early on a Saturday morning. Get there early, let someone know that you are there, and then sit down to read a magazine or newspaper. This will give you a chance to scope the place out a little. Are you offered something to drink? How does the place smell? How do the interactions sound?
Smells can quickly clue you in to how well the nursing home is run. You shouldn’t smell bodily fluids, or like bad smells are being covered by air fresheners. Food smells coming from the kitchen should be appetizing.
After sitting there a few minutes, take some time to look around. If there is a resident near by, try to engage them in a conversation about the nursing home and gage their reactions.
When you do get your meeting with the nursing home representative, they will want to ask you a lot of questions regarding your loved one, their medical history, and plans. Answer them as thoroughly as possible, as this helps them to foresee any future problems. Be sure to ask any questions that you might have, and get a copy of their information or admission packets.
You will then be the tour. Not how different department managers react to you, and watch for interactions between staff and residents. Are the residents in clean, dry and weather-appropriate clothing? Do they appear clean and groomed? Do wheelchairs and chairs appear to be in good repair, and are the residents using them comfortable? Are residents allowed to walk at their own pace, and do you hear any yelling?
Look and see how the place is kept. Floors should be clean and dry, and the lighting should be good. Any decorative items should be well kept, and drapes should be open.
At the nurse’s station, notice the nurses’ responses to residents and family members. Is this the way you would like your loved one to be treated?
If your loved one is in need of therapy, you will be taken to that area as well. Watch the therapists and their interactions with patients, and see if their privacy is being respected. Find out how many and what type of therapists they keep on staff.
Check out the activities area, and request a copy of the schedule of activities. Are the residents actively participating? How do the managers of this area treat the residents?
Ask to see the different dining areas and observe how the residents are being treated, especially those patients that need to be fed or cued to eat. You may also want to find out the policy for eating in their room.
Take a look in the rooms to see that they are well kept. Bathrooms are a particular point of notice. Are the rooms private, or will your loved one have a roommate?
Before you visit a second time, read the information that you received and make a list of any questions that you might have. Try to visit during the week unexpectedly, and ask to speak to someone. Keep in mind that how you are treated then is a good indicator of how your loved one will be treated.
Repeat this for any nursing homes that you are considering, and then you should have enough information to decide which one is best for you.
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