Choosing A Good Nursing Home
When making the decision to move a loved one into a nursing home there are many questions and it can become overwhelming! There are some basic questions you can ask and signs to look for to ensure your loved one will be in a safe, friendly, caring environment.
1. How does the food look and taste?
Dining with your parent in the nursing home cafeteria is a great way not only to bolster your parent’s spirits, but also to give you an idea of how well he or she is eating. It is hard to know if your parents are not eating because they have no appetite or if the food is no good unless you are eating it every so often.
2. What sounds do you hear?
Do you hear residents yelling or begging for care, or are there people laughing and enjoying themselves? There will be some residents who have dementia or Alzheimer’s that may act out, which is to be expected, but look for residents that seem cognitive but unhappy. Make sure the staff is addressing the residents by their names, “Good morning Ms. Mary” not “Hey there mamma, or pops”.
3. What does is smell like?
Unfortunately, as we get older we do not have the control of our bodily functions as we did when we were younger, so walking into a nursing home you may get a whiff here or there of a foul odor, but it is nothing to cause alarm. However, if everywhere you go there is a foul odor, or strong smell of urine it could mean they do not properly clean their facility.
4. Is the staff overworked?
Talk to the nurses and orderlies; are there a lot of employees working double shifts or overtime? Do they mention they are always looking for staff? Does the staff look tired? Do you hear them complaining about too many residents per staff member?
5. How do the residents spend their afternoons?
Are the residents in their rooms or are they participating in activities? Are they hanging around the nurses station, or sitting together having coffee? Does the nursing home offer entertainment, such as, bingo or old movies played in the rec room? Even the residents that are room bound, does the staff take them games and interact?
6. How does the staff interact with each other?
You can tell a lot about how a facility is run by the interactions of the staff with other staff, and with the heads of departments and of the company. If there is visible tension or very little interaction this is not a good sign. A good sign is when you see people smile at one another and say please and thank you and address each other in kind and respectful tones, and when the boss is around people continue to do the job they were doing and not start acting like they are working.
7. Do you see bruising on the residents?
As we age our skin is not as strong and the medications we take can cause easy bruising, but does the bruise look like a finger or hand? That is when you want to take a closer look. Also bruises on the stomach or back are not typical of a fall, so be skeptical about bruises in those areas.
8. How do they handle a slip and fall?
Even under the best circumstances people sometimes fall, it is sometimes unavoidable. But, how the staff and the facility handle the fall is very important. Do they help the patient up? Do they notify the families immediately? Are they checking on the resident a few hours later to make sure there are no signs of an injury that were not present at the initial fall?
9. Are there unexplained bedsores?
If the resident is bed bound it is easy to get bedsores if they are not properly turned and kept clean and dry, and even then sometimes the paper thin skin breaks apart. If there is a bedsore, is it being addressed and taken care of? If the resident is active and there is a bed sore there needs to be a conversation with the staff as to why the resident is not up and active.
10. Are personal care needs being met?
The residents that are incontinent should be changed at a minimum every two hours. Does this facility have a maximum times number of diapers they will give a resident? If so, that is not a good sign, a person left in an unclean diaper can have skin breakdown and wounds.
There are a lot of questions to ask and things to think about when placing your loved one in a Nursing Home. Make sure you take the time to look at each place and ask the hard questions to guarantee you find the best fit for your loved one.
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