Are you currently caring for your aging loved ones and concerned that they may need a higher level of skilled care? We realize that this is a difficult time and that there is nothing harder to do than to make the decision to move your loved ones into a long-term care facility. With this decision, how do you choose the right one? Will there be challenges ahead? How do you make sure that the needs of your loved ones, both now and in the future, will be met by the facility?
The questions above are an excellent place to begin your search for a nursing home. There will also be additional factors to consider that you may not be aware of yet. We would like to share with you our 9 Point Checklist. We invite you to review and use this checklist in your research as you evaluate your nursing home selections.
1. Location of the facility and the health care services offered. First of all, discuss with your loved ones whether they want to remain in the community they have always lived in. If they do, then your search must remain, if possible, if their community. Next, you should have a list of the health care services your loved ones will need. Because not all long-term care facilities provide the same health care services, use this list to determine if the facility can provide the care your loved ones require.
2. Levels of care and management of medicines. Ask this question now, if your loved ones decline or improve, can they stay in the facility? Knowing that answer before they move in will prevent a need for a move later on. Also, not all skilled nursing homes include medication management, so ask now if this is included or if it is considered an additional service.
3. Programs and engaging residents. Are you aware that loneliness and isolation are a leading cause of death for Older Americans? Be sure that the facility offers opportunities for your loved ones to be active, engaged in activities and able to meet others.
4. Internal and external communication plan. Communicating internally, what type of internet communication is available in the facility? Will you, your loved ones and their family and friends be able to connect via FaceTime or Skype or some other way? Also, with external communication, how will the facility keep you up-to-date on what your loved ones need? Will the facility communicate only with you or can the facility communicate with multiple family members, as well as the agent(s) under the durable powers of attorney for your loved ones?
5. State licensing and disaster management. Be sure to look at the facility’s state license, is it up-to-date? Have they had any significant issues or challenges? How were they addressed? In addition, ask to see and read their management disaster plan. The plan should include everything from viruses, such as Covid-19, to natural disasters to power outages and, here in Florida, to hurricanes.
6. Read reviews and ask for opinions of the facility. Look online for any reviews of the facility before you visit. If possible, ask residents their opinions while you are onsite. Find out what the opinions are of the facility in the community. The health care providers for your loved ones may be another source of information.
7. Look into the staff, turnover, and health care provider permissions. Find out about the people operating and working in the facility. Do they appear content with their jobs?Are they caring? Are they busy? Is there a high staff turnover? In addition, if your loved ones have a current health care provider, ask if they will be able to come into the facility to treat your loved ones.
8. Financial assistance. There are programs such as Medicaid and long-term care insurance that can help offset the high cost of care. Find out, now, what programs the facility accepts.
9. In-person visit and evaluation. Your personal opinion of this facility is very important to be sure this is where you want to place your loved ones. You, of course, will want to schedule a tour, but also consider an unscheduled tour so that you can evaluate the facility without it having time to prepare for your arrival.
The search for the right long-term care facility, of any kind, for your loved ones is very involved and we hope these points can help you as you begin. We do highly recommend that you discuss your potential choices, as well as your goals for your loved ones, with your Florida elder law attorney. Your attorney can give you guidance in this decision so that your loved ones will find and access good long-term care. Do not hesitate to contact us now, or at any time in the future.
We believe in a collaborative approach to helping our clients. This means that our assistance does not end with just legal help. We work closely with other senior providers to make sure all our clients’ needs are taken care of from start to finish. Our mission is to make sure every family feels that they have been taken care of, have peace of mind and have someone to lean on during difficult times.