By Tiffany White
Choosing a nursing facility for your loved one can be stressful — especially when you don’t have much time to make a decision. Angela Allen, director of nursing with Christian Care Communities, gives some tips on how to choose wisely.
Is there a way to check a rating of a nursing home?
“Go to Medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare. Type in a specific facility or zip code in the search bar. A list of different facility names will appear. When you click on the facility you want to look at, the site will give you the facility’s star rating in different areas of care.”
What should a caregiver look for when searching for a nursing home?
“Pay attention to the overall cleanliness of the building and appearance of the staff. Does the staff smile at you and greet you? Request a tour of the building from the admissions director. Find out what the staffing ratios are because ideally, a facility would have adequate staffing so that they aren’t giving substandard care. Ask about the activity program and try to view some activities that are going on. Ask to look at the facility’s annual survey and complaint surveys.”
My mother just fell and will be in the hospital for two more days before going to rehab at a nursing home. What questions I should ask the director of nursing?
- “First, ask what kind of fall prevention program the facility has. You want to find out what types of interventions are used for a new referral (resident) coming to the facility. The facility should consider room placement so the resident can be close to the nurse’s station to prevent future falls.
- Second, ask how often the nurses check on the residents. People will want to know their loved one will not be left alone for a long period of time.
- Third, find out what the staffing ratio is for the unit and if the staff is on a consistent assignment. You don’t want a different nurse taking care of your mother every day. Keeping the same nurse allows the nurse to know your parent’s needs because they have formed a relationship with your parent.”
What’s a secured unit in a nursing home?
“For some facilities, you have to type in a certain set of numbers on a keypad to enter the facility. This is needed to promote safety for residents who might be at risk of leaving the building and getting lost or hurt because they are cognitively impaired and have poor safety awareness. This typically applies to residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia.”
How often should a nurse check on residents?
“At least every two hours, or it can be more frequent depending on the resident’s health situation.”