Some people stay at a nursing home for a short time after being in the hospital. After they recover, they go home. However, most nursing home residents live there permanently because they have ongoing physical or mental conditions that require constant care and supervision.
If you need to go to a nursing home after a hospital stay, the hospital staff can help you find one that will provide the kind of care that’s best for you. If you are looking for a nursing home, ask your doctor’s office for recommendations. Once you know what choices you have, it’s a good idea to.
Tips on choosing a nursing home
Choosing the right nursing home is not easy, and you may be under pressure to move quickly due to a recent hospitalization or deterioration in your health. The more information you have, the greater your chances of finding the right fit.
Start with referrals. Does your family physician or specialist have any recommendations? Or do you know any friends who have used different homes? Knowing someone with first-hand experience of a nursing home can help you narrow your choices. However, remember your needs may differ; one size does not fit all.
Educate yourself. Online resources for nursing homes include ranking sites that utilize existing state data to rate nursing homes. In the every state has what is called a long-term care, which can be a valuable resource about the current condition of a nursing home. Advocacy groups for specific illnesses can also provide hints on finding the right facility.
Consider your medical needs. Different nursing homes may have more expertise in different areas. Are they experienced in handling your specific health condition?
Factor in distance. In general, the more convenient the home, the easier it is for family and friends to visit.
- If you see a family visiting, you can ask them about their impressions of the home and how their loved one has been treated.
- Ask if there is a Family Council operated by families of the residents—and if you could attend.
When should your family consider a nursing home?
Whether you and your family are facing a quick decision about a nursing home due to a recent event, or have been coping with a worsening progressive disease such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, considering a nursing home is not an easy decision. Emotions such as guilt, sadness, frustration, and anger are normal. But by working through your housing, financial, and medical options, you and your family make can make an informed decision.
Whether you’re looking for yourself or an older family member, here are some questions to ask when considering a nursing home:
Have you had a recent medical assessment? If you’re considering a nursing home as the next step after hospitalization, this has likely been done. However, if you’re considering a move from your home or another facility, a more formal assessment by a medical team can help clarify your needs and see if other housing options may be a possibility.
Can your needs be met safely in a different housing situation? If you need 24-hour supervision, or are in danger of wandering off or forgetting about a hot stove, for example, a skilled nursing facility may be the best option. If your needs are solely custodial, though, an assisted living facility may be a better fit.
Can your primary caregiver meet your needs? Caregivers are often juggling the needs of work, their own family responsibilities, and their own health. It’s not possible for one person to be awake and responsive 24 hours a day. Sometimes other family members can help fill in the gap, or day programs, home care services, and respite care can provide the necessary caregiver support. However, there may come a point where medical needs become too great and home care services are insufficient or become too expensive.
Would the need for a nursing home be temporary or permanent? Sometimes, a temporary situation may be covered through home care, or family members might be able to rotate care on a short-term basis. However, if the level of care is expected to be permanent, this may be too expensive or coverage might not be enough.
What is a nursing home or skilled nursing facility?
A nursing home is normally the highest level of care for older adults outside of a hospital. Nursing homes provide what is called custodial care, including getting in and out of bed, and providing assistance with feeding, bathing, and dressing. However, nursing homes differ from other senior housing facilities in that they also provide a high level of medical care. A licensed physician supervises each patient’s care and a nurse or other medical professional is almost always on the premises. Skilled nursing care is available on site, usually 24 hours a day. Other medical professionals, such as occupational or physical therapists, are also available. This allows the delivery of medical procedures and therapies on site that would not be possible in other housing.