Nursing Home Reviews- How To Find A Good Nursing Home

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Making The Decision To Move Someone To A Nursing Home

Making the decision that a loved one needs to move into a residential nursing home can be a very emotional time. However the knowledge that you have made the right choice of home can make all the difference both to the resident's quality of life and to how you feel about your decision.

I am not affiliated with any particular nursing home. The information in this hub is provided by my mother who has worked with senior people for the last 30 years as a social worker and regularly visits a large number of nursing homes and residential communities. Whilst her job is to attempt to help people to live independently for as long as they are able she does regularly have to place people in residential care and nursing homes and these are the things that she looks for in a home when deciding whether it is suitable.

If you are aware of any additional issues that are not covered in this hub please feel free to use the comments form below to alert me of them. I will then add them to this page so that it can help other people with their decision.

Please remember when choosing a home that many older people feel very upset about no longer being able to live independently. For this reason you should do everything you can to respect their rights and ability to choose a home for themselves where possible. Of course, this might not always be possible, but where you can, please give their views the utmost weight and consideration.

Things To Look For In A Good Nursing Home

Staff Ratios and Staff Turnover: As a general rule a staff ratio of 1:8 should be the minimum that you should consider. Although it may be the case that you feel that the person you are choosing for does not need a great deal of care of attention at the moment this may change in the future as they get older. Staff turnover is important as constantly changing staff can be frustrating and unsettling for residents. Short term staff may also have less commitment and attachment to individual residents.

Stimulation:There is very good evidence that stimulation is vital to stop people deteriorating once they enter nursing homes. A lot of homes have very good success with acting, gardening and other programs. Residents also like regular trips out of the home. You should seek evidence that these activities are not only described as offered but that they actually take place. Most homes claim to offer such things but in practice some homes never actually do the activities that are scheduled. Also, some homes offer outings every week but only take a few residents. This can mean that individual residents only go on outings every few months rather than weekly. Check how often each individual gets to leave the care home.

Drug Policy: Nursing homes can have very different policies on the amount of drugs that they hand out to residents requiring high levels of care. More drugs generally makes the life of the staff easier but doesn't necessarily benefit the patient as more drugs generally means less interaction. For this reason less drugs may be better than more as long as the resident is comfortable.

Residents Rooms: Can residents furnish their own rooms and take their own belongings with them? For many people this can make an enormous difference to their emotional well being. For somewhere to feel like home many people need to have their own belongings around them.

Menus and Food: Another quality of life issue. How good is the food? Rather than just be given descriptions actually see the food and sample the quality. Check whether everybody eats the same or whether variety is offered. Ensure that assistance is offered with eating to those people that need it.

Lifting of Residents: Are proper techniques used for lifting residents from chairs etc. This may sound like a small point but can result in injuries to residents if not done properly. Some nursing homes actually pull people from their chairs by their arms which can result in dislocations and other painful injuries. It may be the case that residents cannot always report these injuries. Look for tell tale evidence such as bruising on the upper arms of residents.

Resident Choices: Check whether residents with higher care needs go to bed at the same time. Are there set meal times? In other words are things run for the benefit of the residents or to make life easier for the staff. Despite their care needs residents should as far as humanly possible be treated as capable adults and their wishes for how they wish to live their lives respected.

Layout: Small details like the layout of rooms where socialising is done can make a big difference. Where tables and chairs are arranged in small groups rather than one large circle generally there is more interaction. There should also be staff available to help people who aren't mobile to move from group to group so that they can socialise as they wish.

Freedom, Freedom, Freedom: Happy residents are usually associated with freedom of choice. That means that they should set their own schedules whenever possible. They should get up, go to bed, eat and do other activities when they want, rather than have the times of these things dictated to them. 

Read Reports

Government bodies regularly inspect nursing homes and provide reports on what they are doing well and what they are doing badly. Try to obtain copies of these reports for any nursing homes that you are interested in so that you compare the views of inspectors. These reports might highlight issues that you had not considered. 

Visiting Nursing Homes

Visit a large number of homes before you make your choice. Visit even homes that you know that you are not interested in as this will give you the chance to get a feel for how different homes operate and what the good and bad points different homes have are.

Wherever possible schedule appointments to visit and from these visits come up with a shortlist. You should then try and visit the homes on your shortlist unannounced. It is the experience of many social workers and inspectors that homes can seem very different on an unannounced visit than on a scheduled one. Check that the things that you thought were great about the homes that you have shortlisted still apply when you make an unscheduled visit.

Arming yourself with the maximum amount of information should help you to make a decision that you feel comfortable with. When you have made your decision please come back to this page and make any additional suggestions via the comments box that you think may help others.

Good Luck in your search for the perfect home.

Video Guide To Choosing A Nursing Home

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AuntyM42 4 years ago from St Petersburg, FL

This is, by far, the best instructions on how to choose a nursing home anywhere on the net.

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