How Can I Tell If a Nursing Home Provides High-Quality Care?
The Quality of Health Care
Make sure the nursing home is certified by the state. Ask about the credentials and training of the staff, including doctors, nurses, and aides. Can the residents see their own doctors or must they see the staff physician? Do they have access to dentists, eye doctors, and other specialists? Does the facility have clear procedures it follows for medical emergencies?
The Facility’s Appearance
The nursing home should be clean and well maintained. A bad smell may indicate the staff is too busy or uncaring to help residents to the bathroom or to change clothes. Rooms and public areas should be comfortable. The dining room and kitchen should be clean, and the food should be hot and appetizing.
Safety and Security
Ask when the facility was built and/or updated. In general, the newer the building, the more fire-resistant it will be due to changes in building codes. Look for safety features such as wide hallways, doors that unlock from the inside, handrails, and grab bars.
Resident/Staff Ratio and Interaction
Find out how the nursing home complies with state and federal government regulations such as patient/staff ratio and training. Notice how staff members treat residents. Do they generally seem caring, or are they distracted? Are a lot of residents sitting around in common areas doing nothing, or are there stimulating activities going on?
The federal government keeps detailed information about every Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing home around the U.S. You can compare nursing homes at medicare.gov.
For more information on planning for and managing your loved one’s future, contact a wealth advisor at NEIRG. Also look for our comprehensive guide on caring for an aging parent, coming out soon.