What Should I Watch Out For in a Nursing Home?


You didn’t want to put your mom or dad in a home, but chances are you, like most people who choose long-term care, didn’t have a choice. Stuff happens. Our parents age, and caring for their increasing medical needs can become overwhelming.

This is especially true if you’ve got a baby or young children in the house who also require around the clock care.

Choosing the right nursing home for your loved ones is not an easy task. It can take days or even months and several consultations. One of the best ways to get a feel for a nursing home so you can decide if it is the right choice is to take a tour of the facility.

You may notice something once you see it in person that you couldn’t have known through reviews.

5 Signs to Look For

The following are five things you need to check for when you’re touring any long-term care facility. If these signs are present, you may have a match!

During your tour of any nursing homes you are considering, you should look for the following positive signs:

  • Staff members who seem to care about the patients
  • Staff members who are responsive to the residents’ needs
  • Staff members who respect patient privacy
  • An adequate number of staff members for the number of residents

Friendly, helpful staff members are a great start, but there’s still more you’ll need to know before you commit to placing your loved one in a specific facility.

What You Need to Know Before You Choose a Facility

Ask the nursing home to see these things before you make this difficult decision. You may also want to go over the answers with your parent if they are still able to help make their own decisions.

Patient Services

Most nursing homes offer long-term health care services. However, you must understand what type of services they offer before choosing one. For example, when it comes to meals you may want to:

  • Find out what the residents have to say about their dining options
  • Ask to see copies of menus or meal plans
  • See if the facility’s menu is a match with your loved one’s preferences
  • Make sure the facility offers choices and it isn’t “eat what you are served”

You may also check whether they have a special diet, fruits, and other nutritious snacks. Remember to inquire about whether the nursing home staff can feed the residents who cannot feed themselves.

Staff Members

The staff members play a crucial role in taking care of the patients by providing safety and other quality services. The attitude and professional level of the staff are essential. Some of the things to check out are:

  • Check if the nursing home hires staff with adequate skills
  • The nurses should be licensed with the appropriate nursing organizations to offer services
  • Check the staff turnover. A high turnover rate would pose a threat to the patients because it indicates underlying issues at the nursing home
  • Find out the staff’s compliance rate and ensure that they are willing to collaborate with you and your patient

Location and Size of the Home

The location is a crucial factor when choosing the right nursing home for your loved ones. If you are the one that needs the services, you wouldn’t want to be far away from your family.

When the nursing home is far from your home, ensure that it is close to another family member. Some other things to check out for include:

  • Whether the facility has enough rooms to cater for the number of patients
  • Whether the patient will be comfortable in an environment with many people
  • Whether the place is safe for outside activities for the residents
  • The neighborhood should be a peaceful environment with minimal noise

Patient Freedom

Every patient needs the freedom to make independent choices.

So, ensure that the nursing home has regulations that allow the residents to make choices. When possible, residents should be able to make choices relating to the type of meals to eat, activities they are comfortable with, the time to go to bed and wake up, and the kind of TV programs they would like to watch.

Every Nursing Home Resident Has Rights

After admission to the nursing home, you may find that your parent has minimal control over their physical and mental life.

That does not mean that they should be dominated or intimidated by the staff. Such treatment is unacceptable at any nursing home. You may want to contact an attorney if you believe your parents’ rights have been violated.

With these tips, you will undoubtedly spot the best nursing home for your loved ones, and with this, you will have peace of mind knowing that they are in good care.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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