How to Choose a Nursing Home

This may seem like a completely random post for me, since neither my parents or Amy’s parents are anywhere near the age for being put into a nursing home, but one of the extremely practical pieces of advice that Dr. Feinberg gave us this last week had to do with nursing homes, as he’s had to spend a lot of time dealing with them himself. I was really impressed by Dr. Feinberg’s pastoral care in pointing some things out to us that aren’t theological but that almost everyone will have to deal with at some point. Here are several of the pointers he gave us on choosing a nursing home.

  1. When you visit various nursing homes looking for the right one for your loved one, be sure to pay attention to what you smell. The smells speak to the cleansliness of the facility.
  2. Look into the rooms to see how many beds are in each room and what size the rooms are. It’s very rare that a patient has a room all to themselves, in fact it’s rather common to have three or more individuals sharing a room so look around and see what the norm seems to be. Remember that the more people in a room, the more visitors, and the more visitors the more colds, flus, etc. that they bring with them.
  3. Ask the administrative staff if the family is consulted when changes to a patients location need to be made. When other patients move, or pass away the administrative staff has to make changes to room assignment. You want to find out if you will be consulted in those arrangements, because you don’t want your loved one to end up wit someone obnoxious.
  4. Look around and see how many caregivers are actually present. Is the facility understaffed? It’s true that they could always use more caregivers, but having looked at several facilities, how does this one compare?
  5. Look at the staff’s faces, their body language, their attitude. Is this just a job for them? If so, that’s going to significantly effect the kind of care that your loved one gets.
  6. Ask what the turnover rate is for personnel at the facility.
  7. One of the most important things to remember in this transition is that things are going to go wrong in the care of your loved one. The important thing is to realize that, expect it and see how the staff responds when things do go wrong. In other words, are they defensive, judgmental, etc. or do they own the mistake and look for ways to improve.
It's only fair to share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrEmail this to someone

January 14 2012 06:34 pm | Issues in Christian Ethics

3 Responses to “How to Choose a Nursing Home”

  1. Heidi Bylsma on 15 Jan 2012 at 8:00 am #

    Expect it to be quite expensive, too. The bill I paid last month for my Mom’s care (for only one month) was over $11,000 for the month. YES, you read that correctly–for one month. Fortunately, her long-term care insurance kicked in and has reimbursed us for some of the costs and will pay about 1/3rd of her monthly care for the next 6 years, but it is still way over the top. I am so thankful that my Mom has a nest-egg and a good income from various sources.

    IMPORTANT: If your loved one has long-term care insurance, be sure to carefully read the terms and conditions of the policy and, when in doubt, call and ask someone at the Insurance Company if a certain facility qualifies. THIS IS IMPORTANT!

    Thanks for posting this, Pastor Drew.

  2. Shannon on 05 Feb 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    Hi Drew,
    I too have not had to face this except through observation of Wes’ parents having to make the difficult decision for his grandparents. But, I’m just wondering, what does the Bible say about Nursing Homes? Something about the whole “project” has never felt right to me and I’m curious what you have found the Word to say about how we are to care for our parents in their later years?
    Thank you too for posting 😉

  3. Drew on 07 Feb 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    Great question Shannon. I think there are two things to take into consideration when you’re working through these kinds of issues.
    1) It’s good for families to take care of themselves. For the most part a person’s own home is going to be the best place to be take care of, especially when they are cared for by loved ones who have a much greater investment in their well being.
    2) There are many situations in life where in-home care is simply not an option. It may be that the individuals needs are simply too great to be attended to in a home environment, or it may also be that there simply are not family members available who can minister to the individuals needs. This is not an uncommon situation at all, especially since many elderly patients are in need of constant 24 hour supervision that families are just not able to provide.
    There really isn’t a right or wrong answer on this one, it’s totally dependent on the circumsntances and abilities of the family members.