Whether you are considering nursing home care for a spouse, parent, or other loved one, making the decision that nursing home care is necessary is never easy. Once you have accepted that nursing home care is the best option, however, you have an equally difficult task ahead of you – finding the best facility for your loved one. Given the frequency with which the media bombards us with stories of nursing home abuse and neglect, finding a facility where you feel your loved one will be treated with care and compassion may seem like a daunting prospect. The Westport nursing home attorneys at Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates, P.C. would like to help by providing the following top 10 tips for finding the best nursing home in Connecticut.
Finding the Best Nursing Home — Top 10 Tips
- Include your loved one. If your loved one is capable of contributing to the decision-making process, make sure to include him/her. Ask what he/she wants in a facility. Is privacy more important than social programs? Would a community garden or a pool be better? Never assume you know what someone else wants.
- Seek input from medical professionals. Even if you have been providing care for your loved one you should still sit down with his/her doctors and ask what is needed in terms of the level of care and any special medical needs your loved one may have.
- Prioritize needs. Once you have consulted with your loved one and his/her doctors, sit down and make a list of priorities so you know exactly what you are looking for in a nursing home. Along with obvious considerations such as dementia care, this could include anything from geographic proximity to your home to cost to the atmosphere. The important thing is for you to have a firm grasp on the top four or five “must-haves” in a nursing home before you truly begin your search.
- Ask for 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.
- Use reliable sources. There are literally hundreds of websites that claim to provide reliable information on nursing homes; however, it is best to stick to truly reliable sites such as Medicare’s “Nursing Home Compare” website or the Department of Health and Human Services “eldercare locator” website.
- Research facilities. Do your own research on facilities that interest you. One reliable source of information is the State of Connecticut’s Nursing Home Information
- Make contact. Contact nursing homes once you have narrowed down the list to a manageable number of facilities. Ask questions about the staff to resident ratio, programs for residents, menus, and complaint process, among others.
- 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.
- Show up unannounced. While an official, scheduled your is necessary, also make a point of showing up when you don’t have an appointment scheduled. This way 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. The best way to prevent your loved one from becoming a victim is to keep your eyes and ears open and act on anything that worries you.
Contact Westport Nursing Home Attorneys
For more information, please download our FREE estate planning worksheet. If you have additional questions or concerns about how to find the best nursing home for a loved one, contact the experienced Westport nursing home attorneys at Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates, P.C. by calling (860) 548-1000 to schedule an appointment.