Want to know how to evaluate a nursing home? Read on! I am a senior care advisor with 10 years personal and professional experience in eldercare. I can offer you insights into how to tour a nursing home.
My husband and I are searching for a facility for his 96-year-old mother, Lillian who might need more care than she is currently receiving at home. I am not going to rate nursing homes but I want you to understand how to evaluate them.
We started our search with a particular Manhattan nursing home on the recommendation of a hospital discharge planner I met at a professional event. Unfortunately our impression of the rehabilitation floor was not great. But, we are more interested in the long-term-care floors, so we have not made a final decision. You can read about are first impressions by looking at my previous entry. click here
Now we are ready to see the residents’ floors.
We said goodbye to a tour mate who was only interested in the rehab floor,then we wait for an elevator to come. It takes 10 minutes. This is not a good sign. But we are pleased when the elevator doors open on a clean airy hallway. The walls are a muted pink with framed paintings hanging along them. Very nice! Another plus.
As we walk down the hall, I looked into one room. There are four beds in the room, two on each side with a thin privacy curtain separating each. Even with the curtain, a person could stand between the beds stretch out her arms and touch each one. My immediate thought—this is too close! There is no privacy here. Paul and I start shooting glances at each other. Neither one of us is at all impressed.
I asked if there were any double or single rooms. Yes there are; the double rooms are assigned on a first come first served basis. There is also a whole floor of single rooms, but they cost extra.
We are pretty sure that this facility is too crowded for Lillian no matter what the positives, but we continue our tour just in case something changes our mind.
There are other negatives. On one floor we see a wheelchair bound man who is left at an elevator unattended. An aide finally comes by . She looks at his name tag and returns him to his floor, but does not say a word to him. They don’t seem aware of each other. I am not pleased to see how impersonal the service is.
On another floor, we overhear a family member telling another attendant to be more attentive to his mother. He found his mom sitting on her bed undressed and the curtain open to everyone.
I won’t go on. This residence is too crowded and the staff and residents do not seem to care for each other.
Just to summarize.
1. Even if someone gives you a positive rating on a facility, make sure you visit it yourself. You don’t know the thought process behind the recommendation.
2. Make a list of your positive and the negative impressions as you tour a facility. Determine which features carry more weight, then tally your results.
3. Go with your gut feeling. More than likely your instincts will lead you to the right choice.
4. Even if it you have positive feelings, visit again another time– just in case.
If you’d like a list of items to look for when evaluating a nursing home facility you, I have one posted on my free resource page on this website. You can download it by pressing this link –> Nursing Home Check List
And sign up to get update to my upcoming book, Almost like Home: A Family Guide to Navigating the Nursing Home Maze. If you sign up now, I will be offering a special early bird price. Almost like Home
Paul and I heard about another nursing home in Manhattan that we would like to tour. I’ll be in touch soon.