4 Frequently Not Asked Questions For Long Term Care Facilities
Recently we discussed the often unasked yet imperative questions for potential in-home caregivers. Likewise, there are several questions I feel are important for long term care facilities such as nursing homes. These are 4 Frequently NOT Asked Questions that you should ask during a facility search for your loved one. (And again, if you find this process overwhelming, please call us and we will help you with it. Our staff assists family caregivers with everything related to their loved ones and their health care.)
1. Can I see your most recent state survey?
Nursing facilities are regulated on the federal and state level. The New Jersey Department of Health, for example, conducts on-site inspections (surveys) and looks for issues in all aspects of the facility and the care and services its staff administers. After receiving the evaluation, facilities may be fined or simply asked to correct for deficiencies. Copies of the report can be requested from the state, but a facility could provide this to you as well.
2. Are all of the services included (or what isn't included)?
It is fantastic when you find a long term care facility with great services and amenities for residents and patients, but it is important to know what the actual cost is. Every facility has a basic “room and board” rate, but that doesn’t mean that every facility includes the same things in that rate. Will the basic monthly expense include everything your loved one needs and wants? If taking advantage of desired services will break the bank with additional fees, that building may not be the right choice.
3. What is your staff turnover rate?
As with in-home care agencies, staff turnover is a telltale sign of how well facilities are managed. Your loved one wants to be cared for by someone who enjoys their work. They can also benefit by having consistency in their care. Of course, there can be many contributing factors to staff turnover and these factors could affect other facilities in your area. Ask about turnover during all of your tours and compare the answers to each other to get a sense for the norm.
4. What control do we have
If your loved one will be living in a long term care facility, a large part of their daily life will be managed for them. You should find out ahead of time what aspects of their care and day-to-day activity you and your loved one will have a say in. This is especially critical if you know there are areas of concern. Are they picky eaters? Do they have a particular taste for interior design? Do they like their ironing done in just the right way? Do they sleep better if the bathe right before bed? Knowing what areas your family and your loved one will be able to control, or make choices regarding, may be very important in deciding which facility is best. Don’t assume they will be able to choose what or where they eat. Don’t assume you will be permitted to redecorate. Ask before moving them in!
These and other questions will give you the fullest idea of whether the building is well managed and an appropriate place for your loved one to receive the care they need. If you find that you’re having trouble making a decision, or you’re being pressured to make one more quickly than you would like, please
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