Making the decision to place a loved one in a nursing facility is heart-wrenching. Most seniors prefer to live at home, and everyone has heard horror stories about substandard care provided at some of these facilities. However, even with those concerns, there are times when it is absolutely essential that a senior have access to the around-the-clock skilled nursing care that these facilities provide. Our New York elder law attorneys understand that preparation and investigation before making a nursing home selection are crucial to ensure that the chosen facility is capable of providing the high-level of care that your senior loved one deserves.
Below are a few basic issues to consider when selecting a nursing home:
1) Choose a local facility. Senior care advocates explain that few things are more important at nursing homes than frequent visits by loved ones. Ensure that friends and family will be able to stop by easily. Also, be sure that the facility has liberal policies so that spur-of-the-moment visits, early morning visits, and late-night visits are accommodated.
2) Look at staffing levels. Nothing is a bigger indicator of potential negligent care than poor staffing levels. This information is usually listed in “aide to patient” ratios and total number of nursing hours provided to each resident daily. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services “Nursing Home Compare” website provides this information.
3) Visit the facility. Nothing beats a thorough examination of a facility to see how other residents seem to be enjoying their stay. During a visit inspect the food, bathroom facilities, general atmosphere, resident activities, and other details.
4) Be aware of costs. Cost considerations are always a factor. Private rooms are more expensive then semi-private rooms, and certain facilities are costlier than others. The AARP’s cost guide is a helpful resource to get an idea of the likely prices of different types of care. Of course, the more long-term care planning that is conducted, the better. However, even if no planning was done, professionals can help explain how you can get the most for your money.
The AARP reports that nearly two out of three people will need nursing home care, at least temporarily, at some point in their lives. Therefore, each New York City elder law attorney at our firm urges all local residents to educate themselves on the best ways to make a good nursing home choice when the time comes. Quality skilled nursing facilities exist, but it takes investigation and planning to ensure you find them.
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