Four Things to Consider Before Choosing a Skilled Nursing Facility


Nursing home activities

Are you looking for 24-hour skilled nursing care for a loved one? Our parents have always been there for us. They bandaged our owies when we were children. They cheered for us at our baseball games. They took us to tour colleges when we were transitioning into adults. They were the first people we told when they were becoming grandparents. Their home was our kid’s favorite place to go. Since our moms and dads were always the anchor of stability to us, it’s hard to accept when they no longer have the independent as they used to be, and it might be time to look into 24-hour skilled nursing care for them.

There’s a perception that 24-hour skilled nursing care is the equivalent of a medical environment, where our loved ones will be hooked up to machines and forgotten other than when it’s time to change their bed pans. However, in reality, if you find a great 24-hour skilled nursing care facility, your parents will have a supportive, home-like environment where they can get the rehabilitation services and restorative care they need to prolong their independence. If you are researching skilled care nursing facilities, you’ll find the best place by following these tips:

  1. Include your parent in the decision making process.

    If your mom or dad is still cognitive enough to make decisions for themselves, include them in researching skilled care facilities. Their health will be best for the longest in a place where they are happy and comfortable. Even if they do not have the energy to extensively research the facilities like you will, make sure they feel empowered in the decision-making process. Perhaps take them on a short demo of one or two facilities and ask them what they think. Transitioning your parent into a new environment and a new way of life can be traumatic (which will contribute to the rapid decline of their health, if they aren’t on board); the more your parent feels like this is their own decision, the smoother the transition will go.
  2. Meet the team who will actually be providing care.
    The sales people who entice you to choose their nursing home might be warm and friendly (because it’s their job to make a good impression) but what really matters is the actual faces and hands who will be providing care to your parent on a daily basis. You want to make sure that you yourself feel comfortable with them taking care of your parent, and that your parent feels comfortable with them also.

    If you aren’t able to meet caretakers who actually provide care for the patients, you may want to keep shopping. You should also make sure you understand how the staff is assigned patients. Will your parent have dedicated caretakers that they trust and feel comfortable with, or is the staff rotated? Routine and consistency is very important for the progress of many elderly patients.
  3. Future-proof your choice.

    The assistance requirements your parents have might be minimal now, but down the road (hopefully a long ways down the road), the will inevitably need more care. What you don’t want to do is get them settled in and comfortable with their new living arrangement, just to have to start over from scratch in a few years. While touring facilities, make sure to ask how they transition patients into more care, when it is needed. Many assisted living facilities also have nursing homes in-house or in partnership, so that a patient doesn’t have to be uprooted and put in a stark new environment when they need more care.

  4. Make sure you lay eyes on the actual life your parent will have.
    The sales rep is only going to show you the shiny nice things about their facility. Make sure you take it a step further and look around when you aren’t just on the guided tour. Show up at various times of day, without an appointment, so that you aren’t just shown the best sides of the facility. Look at where the residents eat, where they do leisurely activities, how they are being treated, and if they look happy.

Do you have any other questions about finding the right nursing facility for a loved one? Please share below.

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