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What to Pay Attention to As You Browse Skilled Nursing Facilities

When you’re looking for a skilled nursing facility for a loved one, the criteria on which you base your decision will likely focus on meeting the resident’s physical needs. However, in order to promote a successful transition from life now, to living-and thriving-in a nursing home environment, you should look at several key aspects of the skilled nursing facilities you tour.

Most facilities roll out the red carpet for prospective residents. You’ll encounter cheerful staff and even meet some of the nursing facilities’ more gregarious residents. Enjoy the all-out effort to charm you, but pay attention to other telltale signs of compatibility when it comes to choosing the right fit for you and your loved one.

Pleasant Staff

Observe the staff and how they interact with residents. Do they seem cheerful? Is their overall attitude one of efficient care-giving? Or do they appear weary and unapproachable? Speaking with staff may not be feasible, but trust your gut when it comes to staff interaction of any kind.

 

Attention to Needs

Your loved one likely has specific needs, such as memory-care, or rehabilitative requirements, which you’ve already addressed with the facility. But, there are other aspects that can set a facility apart. Regular social interaction, with other residents, as well as volunteers, is vital to your loved one’s emotional health. Having a choice at mealtime helps your resident feel empowered. Being able to go outside can alter a bad mood.

 

Cleanliness

This is a huge factor. Why? Because of the natural correlation between keeping the facility clean and its residents clean. You know what I mean. Good cleaning practices will make the facility smell clean. Both human organic substances and pathogens off-gas odors. So if the place doesn’t smell good, you know what’s not being addressed.

A facility that goes above and beyond to provide hygienic conditions for residents and visitors alike, shows pride and diligence in care. Looking after residents with limited physical and cognitive abilities means cleaning is a constant chore. For those nursing facilities that contract with professional cleaners, cleanliness is of great importance.

Maintaining a sanitary environment goes well-beyond anesthetics. Highly contagious infections can spread like wildfire in such close quarters. Look for hand sanitizing stations for staff, residents and visitors. Also, ask about infection preventing measures and protocols observed at the facility. Pay very close attention to the conditions in the dining room and any other common areas.

 

Certified Staff

Typically, nursing facilities employ a few RN’s, but most of the medical staff will be nurse technicians or CNAs. Care facilities that provide for rehabilitative services will also employ certified Physical Therapy professionals as well as Occupational and Respiratory t Therapists If your loved one has certain requirements, ask about those staff members, their training, and if they’re employees or subcontractors. If they’re subs, find out how many hours they’re contracted for per week in the facility.

 

Additional Services

Beyond the room and board, most facilities provide for monitoring of medication and alert you to any changes. Most nursing facilities also provide 24-hour emergency care.  Some will offer transportation services for doctor visits or tests, and many provide personal care, as in toilet use, bathing, and getting dressed. Knowing where you need assistance can help you choose the right facility.

 

Grounds keeping

Well-kept grounds aren’t just anesthetically pleasing, they’re a safety concern. Closely inspect the exterior of the facility when you visit. If you live in an area of ice and snow, see that the walkways are safely maintained. Look at the view from the facility’s windows. Is it pleasant?

Key Take-a-ways:

  • Friendly, happy staff provide a pleasant atmosphere. Observe staff members for a positive attitude.
  • The facility should go above and beyond meeting the basic needs of the resident.
  • Accept nothing less than a supremely clean facility. Unsanitary conditions can spread infections and disease among the elderly.
  • Staff must be well-trained in dealing with the specific needs of the elderly.
  • Residents need regular recreational activity to stay upbeat and focused.
  • Grounds maintenance should be evident. Clear walkways with no litter or debris. Anesthetically pleasing views are preferred.

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