There is nothing easy about making the decision to put a loved one in a nursing home. It does not matter if there is no other alternative, many people have a sense that they are dumping their loved one in a nursing home or abandoning them. Do not let your emotional turmoil over the situation deter you from checking out facilities that you are considering for your loved one. It is time to focus on finding the best nursing home. There are many factors to consider, but some stand out as the most important.
5 Key Factors to Consider
1. Deteriorating health conditions is the primary reason for nursing home care, so the ability and willingness to oversee your loved one’s health conditions is paramount. Ask physicians, family members and friends about any experience they have had with the facility. Ask the nursing home director if physical, speech and occupational therapy is available. Question the timely delivery of medications. Note the condition of durable medical equipment such as beds, wheel chairs and walkers.
2. Check the quality of the aides and nursing staff. The staff spends countless hours with your loved one, charged with the responsibility of taking care of their physical needs. Visiting the facility at different times and observing the staff’s reaction to medical needs reveals the competency level at the facility. What is the patient to staff ratio? Workers can be extremely efficient, but if there are not enough employees, patient care will suffer.
3. The staff should respond compassionately to the patient’s emotional needs and check on residents frequently. Patients should not have to wait long periods if they need assistance to eat. Workers should immediately clean up incontinence accidents to avoid skin breakdowns. The staff should take care of the patient with kindness versus irritation. Observation is your most powerful tool in selecting a nursing home.
4. The cleanliness of a facility and staff has a direct bearing on an occupant’s health. Disease spreads when employees ignore general cleanliness, sterile techniques and universal precautions. Danger signs include hallways cluttered with equipment, dirty bathrooms and obvious spills or dirt left on the floors. Residents that wear clothing stained with dried food or liquids indicate neglect. It should not smell like urine when you enter the facility.
5. The spread of infection and disease is a problem in medical facilities. Common causes are the lack of sterile techniques and universal precautions. See if the staff washes their hands frequently and wear gloves when appropriate. Failure to clean up promptly after changing a wound or other medical procedures enables the patient and staff to spread germs throughout the nursing home. Some facilities have a written protocol for infection control. Infection logs track and record contamination cases experienced in the facility.
To find the best nursing home for your loved one always visit more than one time. If you should happen to go during an audit, you will not get a true picture of the nursing home or its staff. With proper research, you will make the best decision that will be right for both your loved one and you as the caregiver.
Dave DeCarlo writes for various medical and health blogs about issues related to the nursing profession. More of his expert advice can be found at Online Associate Degree in Nursing.