Considering a nursing home for long-term care or elder care is one of the most difficult decisions you and your family can encounter. Whether you have a health risk and planning for a future in a nursing home or are considering a nursing home for your elderly parents, the choice to leave your loved one in the care of others, especially when they are in a vulnerable state, is nothing to take lightly. That’s why it’s important to consider the most important factors when choosing a nursing home.
You should be considering both the quality of care and medical practices, as well as the culture of compassion that the nursing home should have. When it comes to long-term care, these two factors often go hand in hand. Even in a state-of-the-art facility with all the medical bells and whistles, if the nurses don’t show compassion, attention, and trust to their patients, they may not be able to communicate properly or pick up on behaviors that could be signs of health risks. And on the other hand, if the nurses aren’t empowered with efficient staffing systems, high-quality facilities, and the medical tools and technology to monitor and deliver care, a great nurse might not be able to do their best work for your loved one.
To get a high-level look at how a nursing home compares to its peers based on factors like staff retention, nurse-to-patient ratio, medical examination results, online rankings can be helpful. But anecdotal information you can glean from others who have used the nursing home can provide you with the context you need to decide. Remember, the goal is quality of life and independence for your loved ones, so quantitative factors and nursing home rankings will only tell part of the story.
In addition, visiting the nursing home one or more times to talk to the administrators, and nurses, and observe the work they do themselves, is the best way to get a sense of if the nursing home feels right. Are the patients in the home happy? Are they engaged in activities? Are they making decisions for themselves? Are the nurses dedicated, patient and observant? These factors are some of the most important when it comes to choosing a nursing home. Make sure to ask questions to administrators about visitation hours and the services and qualities you are looking for in a nursing home. Their answers will say a lot!
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