What to Consider When Choosing a Long-Term Care Facility 

The idea of moving to a long-term care facility isn’t something most people want to consider. However, for some individuals, a nursing home is the best option and will provide them with the proper care they need. Whether you’re searching for a long-term care home for a loved one or yourself, there are a few things you should consider.

In this article, we take a look at the top factors and questions you should consider when searching for a long-term care facility. Taking your time to search for the perfect fit will ensure your loved one (or you) are placed in a home where they can thrive, are happy, and are well taken care of.

Location

One of the first things to consider when searching for a long-term care facility is the location. You’ll want to find a home that is close to family so that loved ones can easily visit.

Even though the facility is often full of vibrant and friendly staff, as well as other residents, nothing quite compares to visiting with family. For this reason, make sure the long-term care facility is close to at least some family members.

The Size of the Facility

The next factor to consider is the size of the long-term care facility. This is important because some personalities will adapt better to certain sizes and amenities.

For example, if the individual has a very outgoing personality and thrives when they can socialize with other people then a larger facility with more residents may be a better option for them. In contrast, if the individual has a more introverted personality, a smaller, more intimate facility may be better suited and less overwhelming for them.

Another factor to consider is what is the property like? Is there plenty of room for the individual to walk around, and are the common spaces easily accessible and safe?

What Services Do They Provide?

All facilities should provide proper long-term care but look beyond that. What other services do they provide?

If the individual has a medical condition, does the facility offer services to ensure their quality of life? For example, a resident with dementia may require to be placed in a special unit for dementia patients. The bottom line is you should first assess the needs of the individual then find out if the facility can properly accommodate their needs.

What Type of Meals Does the Facility Provide?

Another important question to ask when searching for a long-term facility is what type of meals do they provide? Most reputable facilities will provide a minimum of three meals plus snacks for their residents. That said, be sure to ask what type of meals do they provide?

It’s best if a dietician can meet with each resident to customize a meal plan that caters to their needs, dietary restrictions, and taste. You should also consider touring the facility during mealtime so you can see firsthand what type of meals are provided for their residents.

Environment

You’ll want to make sure the facility has a warm and welcoming environment. You should also inquire about their private rooms. Are the residents allowed to bring personal furnishings and belongings? This can drastically help their space feel more like home.

Take a tour of the facility and determine if it offers inviting common rooms such as lounges, outdoor patios, and recreation rooms that allow the residents to feel like a part of a community. Also, look into what type of activities they provide for their residents. Are there recreational activities available such as painting and games? These types of activities are essential for keeping the residents engaged, happy, and thriving in their environment.

The Staff

When you’re not spending time with your loved ones, the staff of the facility will be taking care of them. This is why it’s essential that the staff are friendly, professional, and provide adequate care.

When touring a long-term care facility, make sure you observe how the staff interact with the residents. You should also ask and make sure the staff have the proper training and education and ensure the facility has a licensed nurse available at all hours of the day. Finally, pay attention to the facility’s turnover rate. If it’s high, this could be a red flag.

Is the Facility Licensed?

Next, you need to find out if the facility is licensed. It’s essential that the long-term care home is licensed and the administrator must be licensed too.

Further, don’t be afraid to ask to see the most up-to-date copy of their latest inspection. Be on the lookout for any flaws on their inspection. If there are any, determine whether or not they put any of the residents at risk.

Consider the Costs

One important factor you’ll need to consider is what does it cost to be a resident at the facility? Finding the best long-term care home for your loved one is important, but finding one within your budget is important too. Speak with the facility to discuss payment plans.

Keep in mind there may be ways you can subside the cost. For starters government programs like Medicare and Medicaid may be able to help. Medicare will only help pay for long-term care if skilled services or rehabilitative care (up to 100 days) is needed. Whereas Medicaid is only for those who qualify under their state’s program.

Read Reviews and Ask for Recommendations

To help narrow your search, make sure you read reviews and ask for recommendations. Reviews help give you insight into other individual’s personal experiences. However, when you read reviews, always take the information with a grain of salt.

You should also reach out to family and friends for recommendations. Your family doctor or local community groups may also be able to provide you with recommendations too.

Red Flags to Consider

The final factor you should consider when searching for a long-term care facility is are there any red flags? Red flags are anything that jumps out at you and are considered alarming. For example, make sure the facility has no record of senior abuse.

Another red flag to look out for is the state of the facility. Does the facility look dirty? Are there any bad odors? Further, if the staff show lack of knowledge this may also be a red flag.

Essentially, if you have a bad feeling about the facility, this is a good indication that it is not the right fit. If this happens, don’t be discouraged and keep looking!

Clarissa Vanner

Clarissa is the Junior Managing Editor of ActiveBeat. She aspires to live a healthy lifestyle by staying active and eating foods that nourish her body, but she isn't afraid to indulge in a little chocolate here and there! Clarissa loves cooking, being outdoors, and spending time with her dog. In her free time, you'll find her relaxing in her hammock or curled up on the couch reading a book.

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