Choosing a nursing home for a loved one is a highly stressful experience. Both emotions and finances are involved. Having counseled numerous families during these difficult times, I understand your feelings and am providing these suggested questions to guide you in choosing a nursing home.
Do I like the location?
Is the nursing home facility near loved ones, friends, church, and favorite places such as parks, libraries, and museums?
Is the staff highly trained, certified, and available?
What is the staff to resident ratio? What training does the staff receive? What certification does the staff have? Is the nursing home administrator certified? Is the nursing home facility itself state certified? Are there doctors available when needed? Are there clergy, personal attendants, and an activities director available on a regular basis?
Will my loved one receive all of the personal care she needs?
In the event that your loved one’s medical condition worsens, can she stay at this particular nursing home? Is there a trained same gender staff member to help with all private matters such as dressing, toileting, and bathing? Is there a daily schedule?
How’s the food?
What’s the quality and quantity of the food? Are there food choices at each meal? Are snacks available for the resident 24/7? Is the resident able to offer snacks to guests? Do residents eat in their rooms or in a central dining room? Are the kitchen, dining room, and patient’s room clean before, during, and after meals?
Is the nursing home facility comfortable?
Does the facility look, smell, and feel clean? Is the facility attractive and comfortable? Is the facility safe? Are there courtyard or porch sitting areas? Is the facility properly lit and furnished? Are there rooms for private gatherings? Are there common rooms for group concerts, crafts, and Wii games? How often are patient rooms cleaned?
Cost and contract?
What are the total costs and fees? Does the nursing home facility accept Medicare and Medicaid? What if your loved one runs out of money? What other terms are in the contract?
If you have questions about choosing a nursing home for your loved one, consult with a qualified estate planning and elder care attorney.