If you have an elderly loved one who is no longer able to safely care for himself/herself at home it may be time to start looking at long-term care options. Although it is rarely an easy decision to make, deciding to move your loved one to a nursing home may ultimately prevent serious harm from befalling your loved one. Once you accept the need for nursing home care you may start asking other questions, such as “ Are county nursing homes acceptable? ” Although county facilities often have a bad reputation, the truth is that some county nursing homes are excellent facilities while others deserve the reputation they often have. Instead of generalizing, the best thing to do is to ask yourself the following questions when you are considering any nursing home:
Is the nursing home certified by Medicare and/or Medicaid? If your loved one will be relying on either Medicare or Medicaid the facility must be certified for the program to pick up the tab. In addition, certification tells you the facility meets at least basic standards of care.
Is there a licensed physician on staff? Is the actual doctor there every day? If not, what is the procedure for emergencies? How often will a physician check on your loved one?
Is the facility clean? This may seem like an obvious question; however, be sure to make an impromptu visit when you are not expected. Evaluate the facility during that visit, not on a visit when you are expected.
What is the staff to patient ratio? While there will be a state mandated minimum staff to patient ratio, a good nursing home will exceed that minimum requirement.
Are the staff actual RNs? While not all of the staff need be RNs, some of them should be. Moreover, check to see if the same staff will care for your loved one on a regular basis or if there is rotating staff schedule.
What are the meal plans/options at the facility? Can your loved one choose his/her meal or does everyone eat the same thing. Where will food be served? In a common room or in the patient’s individual rooms?
What activities are available for your loved one? Is there an activity director? Socialization remains an important part of life even in a long-term care facility.
Do the residents appear happy? This is often the best indicator of all. If possible, take the time to actually talk to some of the residents and find out how they like living at the facility.
If you have additional questions or concerns about elder law or estate planning, contact the experienced Illinois elder law and estate planning attorneys at Nash Bean Ford & Brown, LLP by calling 309-944-2188 to schedule your appointment today.
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