- Nurse Aide Attitude – These men and women are the hard-working individuals who will be directly interacting and caring for your loved one day and night. Aides are the single most important component of the quality of care. When a caregiver is respectful, kind and overall diligent, residents’ lives can be affected in a profound and positive way. The opposite also rings true. Don’t forget to speak with the aides and hear what they have to say.
- Residents’ Point of View – Be sure to ask a couple of the residents what their favorite and least favorite things are about the community. They will probably be thrilled to chat with you and answer your questions.
- Food Quality – There are certain challenges to nursing home cooking, including dietary considerations of patients, reduced-sodium use, low sugar or no sugar, etc. However, it is not a bad idea to ask to join the residents for a meal. Unsatisfactory food could be a sign of cost containment efforts which might be cause for major concern.
- Cleanliness and Hygiene Standards – Cleanliness and hygiene at a nursing home are critical to patient wellbeing. Staffing quality and quantity are clearly the most vital considerations that reflect whether steps are being taken to maintain these health standards. Tour the facility, pay attention to common areas, eating areas and patient rooms if you can gain access. Be looking for cleanliness and odor.
- Noise Level – With beeping call buttons, walkie-talkies, overhead paging systems, phones and talking staff, high noise levels can be constant and especially agitating to older adults. Many facilities cut down on noise pollution in various ways such as, substituting loud paging systems and alert tones with silent red flashing lights above the residents’ door. Be aware of the noise level and make an educated decision about your loved one’s ability to live in the environment.
- Pop in Problems – If a community will not allow you to pop in for an unscheduled visit that may be a red flag. You need to see the environment as it is on a regular day at any given time. At many facilities, management prepares for your visit and because of this, you may be seeing them at their very best. While it is great to have the red carpet rolled out for you, coming by unannounced after your initial scheduled tour has its benefits as well.
- Under Staffed, Over Worked – Understaffing is a leading cause of neglect, abuse, and even death. It is not an option, it is absolutely imperative that the facility you choose to be properly staffed, meeting state regulations.
- Lack of Life Enrichment – Social directors who organize events, outings, or activities in nursing homes often make a big difference in the quality of life for patients. If that seems to be less present, again this might reflect efforts to generally cutback on overhead, staffing or the quality of staff being hired, you will need to carefully watch this situation to ensure your loved one receives the entertainment opportunities they require. Lack of stimulation can lead to isolation and depression. Speak to the manager responsible for activities to get a feel for what they do and do not offer.
If you need assistance in finding the proper facility for your loved one, contact our office today.