Nursing homes are health care agencies that are equipped to provide long term round the clock care for those that require it. Most often the people that require such facilities are the elderly, with the median age of admission being 79 years old. With a wide range of complicated medical issues and the unavoidable deaths of the sick and the elderly, the importance of choosing a skilled nursing facility is obvious, yet most have heard the horror stories regarding some. In the event that you must choose a long term care facility for yourself or a loved one, here are five tips to help in your search.
- Listen to the way staff speaks to the residents, in particular, the way residents are addressed. Do they address people by name, or use more generalized pet names like “sweetheart?” While the latter might sound more affectionate, they are impersonal and, to the older generation, often seen as disrespectful.
- Pay attention to the staffing ratios of facilities you visit. Double shifts and overtime might be nice in the short-term for an employee’s paycheck, but never forget the difficult nature of these health care agencies. Without sufficient time away from work, caretakers have no ability to recover emotionally from such a stressful and emotionally draining environment, making burnout inevitable.
- For those entering senior living facilities, inquire about their levels of care. Some enter these homes needing little daily assistance but progressively require more attention. A good facility has appropriate housing for independent living and assisted living in addition to full-time care.
- Find out what activities and social interaction a facility offers. Staying alone in a room not only constitutes a boring existence but a shorter one. Research shows that individuals without sufficient mental stimulation and socialization live shorter lives than do people in similar circumstances. The fact of the matter is healthy, active people live longer and a quality facility is aware of that and acts accordingly.
- While observing the staff, a necessary task in such a search, be sure to observe how they interact with each other. Coworkers should be relaxed with each other, but not ignoring the clients in their care when required tasks are finished. A staff that is passionate about the care they provide will interact with those in their care instead of gossiping.
There is no foolproof way to determine that a loved one will never receive poor care. Even the best facilities have mistakes and accidents occur. However, with these tips and keeping your eyes open, you can be as certain of your choice of health care agencies as is possible.