It’s not that most caregiving families want to, but there may come a time when your spouse’s or elder-parent’s care becomes more than you can physically or emotionally manage at home. Caregivers need to look past the initial bells and whistles of a care facility to make sure that your loved one is receiving the very best care at all hours of the day and night.
How to Choose a Care Facility For a Loved One:
- Plan early—don’t wait until it’s an emergency. The highest rated
care homes usually have a waiting list.
- Don’t pay for more than you need. Know that cost rises with care needs, so don’t pay for services your loved one doesn’t need–yet. Ask if they have a graduated care situation or whether your loved one will have to find another home if their care needs increase.
- Consider smaller care facilities or even a group home. Bigger isn’t always better.
- Don’t get razzle-dazzled by fancy entrances/amenities. Look past all that and notice how the staff interacts with their residents–are they caring, engaged, friendly, and prompt?
- Visit several times/and several shifts before making your
decision–and eat the food for yourself–and if you can, talk to a resident or family member of someone who’s already living there
- Consider visiting with a friend or someone who is impartial and can notice things you don’t want to–or can’t see.
- Ask other caregivers if they know about this facility and
“what’s the word on the street?” Check out a care home rating site such as the ones listed at: http://www.consumerhealthratings.com/index.php?action=showSubCats&cat_id=268
- Check online for more facility information and reviews–Caring.com lists care homes, facilities and hospices in your area–along with helpful checklists and other info to assist you http://www.caring.com/local
- Does the facility offer family support services, such as caregiver support
groups and family event days?
- Discuss how client and family concerns are handled, what is the
protocol for disputes? Also find out the procedure for how to move your loved one to another facility if that becomes a necessity.
- Ask about turnover rate of employees and residents. If people are happy–they stay.
- Ask how they screen their employees and how often this is
updated (know that some care facilities allow employees to have misdemeanors, etc. on their record)
- Ask to view the ACA survey. It will list the facility’s records on everything from safety records, employee issues, MRSA and other infections, bed sores, accident/fall rates.
- How is orientation handled and what efforts are made to
integrate your loved one with the staff and other clients?
- Find out if your spouse/parent’s doctors/hospital serve this
care facility or if you will have to find all new doctors. (Many physicians or their assistants visit care homes, which can make it easier than your family member having to make a trip into the doctor’s office.
- Consider location and how often you–and others–can visit.
- Consider other location factors–should your loved one stay in their own community where they have friends, doctors, and religious support?
- Never forget that you are your loved one’s care advocate. Stay involved, hang out, and continue to be aware of their physical, financial, and emotional needs.
- Visit often and make sure it’s not a “to do” session. Caregiving can strip you of your most important role–to be the spouse, partner, daughter or son. Once your loved one settles in, then it’s time to make an effort to be their emotional support–brighten their day by wearing a smile, bringing small presents, taking them outside (if possible) or bringing them home for a few days around the holidays.
Author of Mothering Mother, available on Kindle
Other great care facility information can be found at: