We know that looking into a skilled nursing facility for a loved one can be a sensitive and difficult topic. Most of our clients share with us that they do not wish for a loved one to have to live outside the home, even when his or her activities of daily living necessitate it. We know just how daunting it can be to learn that not only will this move be necessary but that you will need to find the right place for your loved one.

Finding the right long-term care facility can be a process that feels overwhelming. Our goal with this article is to help you in this challenging process. Let us share with you the five tips we share with our clients, friends, family, and the professionals we work with, to help you navigate this journey to find the best facility to care for your loved one.

1. Level of Care. Start by understanding the level and type of care your loved one needs. This will help you to determine if the skilled nursing facility can provide that care in a method that satisfies both you and your loved one. In most cases, this is a step that can be taken and researched without setting foot in the facility. If your loved one has specific medical needs or requires unique medical attention, inquire of the facility if and how it is equipped to handle these needs.

2. Staffing. Do not be shy in asking about the experience of the staff on hand and the routine work schedules. Are there doctors onsite at this facility? Are there registered nurses? What is the patient-to-provider ratio? Do they work every day or are they on call? Is your loved one allowed to continue to see his or her existing doctors outside of the facility? It can be comforting to you and your loved one to know the type of medical professional available in a crisis.

3. Safety. You want to make sure, that above all else, your loved one will be safe in this facility. This means evaluating the physical space both inside and outside the facility to look for potential dangerous situations. It also means knowing how the facility manages the staff and visitors. Is everyone checked in and accounted for each time they arrive? Are staff members subject to background checks before being hired? You want to know that your loved one can feel just as safe at this new facility as he or she does in his or her own home.

4. Special amenities. Whether your loved one needs special care now, or might need it in the future, see whether the facility has special types of medical equipment and services available on site. Is physical therapy available? What about respiratory therapy? Are there social amenities, such as a book club or a supper club? Finding out the services available and the opportunity for socialization for your loved one are key questions to ask now. 

5.Transportation. Does this facility provide transportation for doctors and hospital visits? What about to restaurants or the grocery store? When your loved one needs to go off-site, it is comforting to know that transportation is available. Whether your love one plans to utilize transportation services or not, it is reassuring to know that those services are available if needed.

While these are only a few tips to help you in your search for a skilled nursing facility, we hope that they will help you get your search started and enable you to make a more informed decision. If you have further questions about approaching this topic, or if you need our help and support, do not hesitate to contact our office.