Making the decision to move an older loved one to a nursing home is rarely a decision that is easily made. In reality, however, it is often a necessary decision because failing to do so could put a loved one at risk for serious injury or victimization by those who prey on vulnerable seniors. Once the decision has been made, the next step is to find the best nursing home for your loved one, a task that may seem daunting. To assist you with your search, the Indianapolis nursing home lawyers at Frank & Kraft offer the following 10 tips to help you choose the right nursing home.
- Get input from your loved one when possible. Sit down with your loved one and ask what he/she wants in a facility. Never assume you know what is important to your loved one. Is privacy more important than social programs? Would a community garden or a pool be better? Does the menu play an important role or are the aesthetics more important?
- Discuss your loved one’s health care needs with professionals. Schedule appointments with your loved one’s doctors and ask what is needed in terms of the level of care and any special medical needs your loved one may have. Add to that your own knowledge with regard to medical needs if you have been providing care.
- Make a list of priorities. Create a list of priorities so you know exactly what you are looking for in a nursing home and what the most important factors are when making a decision. For example, if your loved one has Alzheimer’s, dementia care will be at the top of the list. Geographic proximity to your home, the cost of care, and staff to patient ratio are additional examples of things you might include on your list. Also, make note of any “deal breakers” for you or your loved one.
- Seek referrals. As the population of seniors continues to grow in the U.S., more and more people have a loved one in long-term care. Ask friends, family members, and co-workers if they have experience – good or bad — with a nursing home in the area.
- Make a list of potential facilities. Stick to reliable sites such as Medicare’s “Nursing Home Compare” website or the Department of Health and Human Services “eldercare locator” website when searching for nursing homes in your area.
- Research facilities. Do your own research on facilities that interest you. One reliable source of information is the Indiana State Department of Health’s searchable database. You can also check to see if a facility has complaint’s filed against it on the ISDH website.
- Contact several potential facilities. Once you have narrowed down the list to a manageable number of facilities, contact the facilities on the list and ask pertinent questions about things such as the staff to resident ratio, what social programs are available for residents, whether they have menu options, and what the complaint process is at the facility. If you have specific needs or wishes, find out if the facility can meet those needs or fulfill those wishes.
- Schedule a tour. Schedule official tours of your top five or six nursing home options. While touring each facility, try and talk to residents that are there. Pay attention to the things that matter most to you and your loved one and ask as many questions as possible.
- Make an unannounced visit. An official, scheduled tour is certainly necessary; you should also make a point of showing up when you are not expected so you get to see the facility when a prospective future resident isn’t expected.
- Remain vigilant. Once you have chosen a nursing home for your loved one, continue to remain vigilant about the care he/she is receiving. If you suspect that something is wrong, it may very well be. Although many nursing homes do provide competent and compassionate care for the residents, the reality is that elder abuse and neglect also occur far too often. To keep your loved one safe and decrease the likelihood that he/she will become the victim of elder abuse or neglect, visit frequently and follow up on anything that makes you suspicious.
Contact Indianapolis Nursing Home Attorneys
For more information, please download our FREE estate planning worksheet. If you become concerned about a loved one’s care at a nursing home, you should speak to an experienced nursing home attorney right away. In Indianapolis, contact the experienced Indiana nursing home attorneys at Frank & Kraft by calling (317) 684-1100 to schedule an appointment.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.