Advances in medicine during the last century have led to an increased life expectancy for Americans. While this is great news for all of us, it also means that there is a good chance you will someday need to find a nursing home for an elderly loved one. Given the fact that your loved one will likely spend the rest of his or her life in the nursing home, finding the right one is crucial. If you have never been through the process of locating and approving a nursing home, it may seem a daunting task; however, there are some tips that may make the process go a bit smoother.
- Start early. Finding the right nursing home can take months, even years. The application process is often lengthy and many good facilities have waiting lists.
- Check with friends, relatives or co-workers before you even start your search. Firsthand experience is invaluable.
- Use the online Medicare nursing home search tool to compile a list of nursing homes in your geographic area. The site is also good for comparing ratings of the various nursing homes in the area.
- Contact your state licensing agency, elderly ombudsman, or department of elder affairs to check if any complaints or disciplinary actions have been filed against a potential nursing home.
- Schedule and appointment at each nursing home and come prepared with questions about the facility and staff.
- Return to the facility unannounced on several occasions to see how the place operates when you are not expected.
- Try and talk to current residents and their loved ones to find out how residents are treated when no one is watching.
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