Finding the Right Nursing Home

Skilled nursing care

It is never easy to make the decision to move a loved one into a nursing home. They are designed for people who need continual medical care but are not sick enough to be in a hospital. The level of medical care they offer is only rivaled by what you would get in a hospital. Most have 24-hour skilled nursing care. Many people find nursing homes are beneficial if they have a progressive illness, such as pulmonary fibrosis, that has gotten to the point where they need such care.

What Is Pulmonary Fibrosis

Pulmonary fibrosis is a restrictive lung disease. It is caused by scarring in the lungs that builds up in the air sacs and prevents oxygen from reaching the blood. It is progressive and there is currently no cure. At some point, home care just will not be an option and the quality of life and comfort for the person with pulmonary fibrosis ends up being better in a nursing home.

How to Choose A Nursing Home

  1. Make sure they have the services you need. Different nursing homes offer different services. Many, but not all, offer physical therapy and occupational therapy. This can be very helpful for people with an illness like pulmonary fibrosis. You will want to find a facility that offers a good pulmonary rehabilitation program.
  2. Get recommendations from the treating physician, friends and family. There may be local agencies that can help you find an appropriate facility. Having recommendations, or even having people tell you to avoid a certain facility can help you narrow down your choices. Depending on where you live, you may have a number of options.
  3. Visit more than one facility. This will give you a better sense of what your options are but you can also check out the living conditions at each. What is the food like? What do they smell like? What kinds of sounds do you hear? Those are the kinds of things you want to look at when you check out nursing homes. The food quality can be really important because that can impact someone?s quality of life greatly and make them feel good or bad about their situation.
  4. What are the staff like? Are they totally overworked? Do they address the residents by their name or with generic names like ?mama? or ?papa?? This can be significant because many people have a real preference and for most, having a non-relative call them by anything but their name may make them feel diminished, as if their needs are being overlooked.
  5. What do the residents think of the place? Talk to people who live there now. Have a meal in the cafeteria and talk to them about their thoughts on the facility. You would be surprised how many will open up to you about things like this. Ask about their experiences with any therapeutic recreation programs at the site. Make a note if the residents look happy and relaxed, this can be a sign of a good or bad facility.
  6. Talk to the staff about payment. The cost of a nursing home can be significant. Ask about their relationship with Medicare and other programs. They may know of programs that you are unaware of and they should be willing to help and to work with you.
  7. Ask about end of life care. You may not want to think about it but palliative care for end of life is crucial for someone suffering from pulmonary fibrosis and you should ask how they handle that.

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