When your loved one is assigned to a nursing home, certain rules and regulations apply. Most nursing homes have a contract that you sign before your loved one moves in. It's important to know what's covered in a nursing home agreement and what to watch out for. In many cases there are special agreements you can make ahead of time, and clauses in some contracts you may wish to avoid. If you're concerned about specific issues, you can discuss them ahead of time with the staff. For example, many people are concerned about the use of restraints. The good news is that use of restraints in nursing homes is declining steadily, with only 5.9 percent of patients nationwide restrained according to the latest figures. Restraining devices such as rails, belts, and vests are now illegal under federal law except when used for medical or safety reasons, such as preventing a patient from pulling out an IV.
To start your search, type your zip code here in the Nursing Home Directory to find nursing homes in your area. Be sure to look for ratings and reviews from other family caregivers. You'll also see the government's star ratings for nursing home quality.
Be sure to call numerous nursing homes to get a feel for the facility and what sets each one apart. There are numerous refreshing trends in nursing home care -- including the emergence of smaller, homier nursing homes where care is provided in smaller, more personalized home-style settings. It's always a good idea to ask for references and call them.
To help guide your process, be sure to use our nursing home checklist. In summary, your goals are to: understand the different kinds of nursing home care that are available; review the older person's needs, your ability to provide care, and your own health care needs and stamina; learn about the nursing homes in your area and the services they provide; discuss the situation with the older person, family, friends, and health professionals; choose the nursing home that best meets the older person's needs, realizing that no place, even one's own home, is perfect.
Since there are many nursing homes that provide various level of care it can be very difficult to find suitable alternative living arrangements. That is why it’s recommended to take an initial tour before taking a decision.
In order to make a good choice, you should take an initial tour. When you’re taking it, always inquire about activities. Ask to see the activity calendar. There should be one posted for each floor/unit. When you look at the calendar, take note of the times the activities occur. Try to return to the facility for a second tour during a scheduled activity time. If you are lucky, your initial tour may be at a time when activities are occurring. If so, ask to observe the activity. This will allow you to see if it is actually taking place, and to see how many residents are involved. It is very important to have activities that engage the residents. However, some residents do not want to participate in any activities.
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