Four Critical Factors to Assess in a Skilled Nursing Facility for an Aging Parent

We know that searching for the right skilled nursing facility for your aging parents can be a difficult process. Where should you look? What do they need? How can you ensure that the good care they receive now will continue on into the future? These questions can become even more daunting when you live far away and are trying to coordinate and plan during a short visit.

As an adult child, how do you help your loved one plan for the care that they may need? How do you ensure they will be able to afford it? Is long-term care in a skilled nursing facility the correct choice for them? If not, where do you start finding the right care for them? Let us share five tips that may be able to help make this process more manageable as you evaluate long-term care facilities to find the perfect home for your loved ones.

1. Determine the level of care you need for your parent from this skilled nursing facility. If your aging family member has unique conditions or specific medical requirements, you must make sure the nursing facility you are evaluating has the capability and resources to cater to these needs. When moving a loved one into any long-term care facility, do your research so you can be confident that he or she will be well-cared for and safe throughout the duration of his or her stay.

2. Understand the type of medical staff that is available. Is there a doctor in residence at the facility or only on call in the event of an emergency? Are registered nurses always present? What is the ratio of patients to nurse? Are background checks performed for all employees? Not only do you want to know the degree associated with who is providing care to your loved one but you also want to try to observe them in action to see their demeanor and bedside manner.

3. Inquire into how personal your loved one can make this new home. What kinds of personal items may be brought to the facility? How many? Will he or she have a shared room or private? What are the policies regarding visitors, special events, and holidays? Administratively, how are visitors and staff identified and regulated? It is important to remember that transition to this new home can be a sensitive time for your aging parent. It can be helpful for your parent to know that family members may continuously visit throughout the week during the transition and after.

4. Meet, greet, and get to know other residents of the facility. Before you choose a facility, spend time interacting with the staff, the residents, and the residents’ loved ones who visit. You can learn much about a long-term care facility when you spend time there and get to know the people who form the community. Do not only trust advertising or quick visits. You need a  more realistic view of how it would be for your aging parents to live there on a daily basis. After all, you know your loved one best.

These are only a few tips to help you in your search for a skilled nursing facility. We hope that they may help you get your search started and to make a more informed decision. If you have further questions about approaching this topic, or wish to share your experience with us, do not wait to let us know!

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