Here’s What to Know Before Moving into a Nursing Home

When considering placing a family member in a nursing home, it can be an overwhelming decision. However, if you make careful preparations before your final decision, you can rest assured your loved ones will be well cared for. Experts from AARP suggest taking a look at state and federal reports to learn about the facility’s regulatory rating.

Another AARP suggestion is to begin your nursing home research in advance. Medicare provides an online database to help you compare the hospitals and nursing homes in your area. With the database, you’ll gather information about possible facilities before you need them.

Types of Facilities

Although most nursing homes care for a full range of clients, some feature separate units for special care needs. One of the most common types is a unit for clients with dementia. Statistics have shown there are almost 6 million elderly people in the U.S. with Alzheimer’s disease. If your family member is living with Alzheimer’s, they need maximum supervision. They also need caregivers with special training. Alzheimer’s clients need staff with additional patience and need more assistance with their activities of daily living.

Nursing Home Checklist

Once you have narrowed down your choices to a few facilities, you should tour the nursing homes – with a checklist in mind. Use the gathered information to predict how your loved one will be treated. Talk to the administrator and the nursing staff as well as staff from as many departments as possible.

Ask staff about their policies for handling special needs your loved one may have. For example, how do they deal with clients who have trouble sleeping? This is likely to be relevant for your loved one. To cite a study done with people over age 50 from 16 European countries, over 50,000 respondents cited sleep problems as a major concern.

When you tour the nursing home, check to see if the residents seem clean and well-groomed. Pay attention to whether they look bored, or are involved in activities. If possible, tour during meal time to look at the food being served. Check the cleanliness of the facility. Check the types of rooms your loved one might live in. Look at the grounds to see if they are well-attended. Ask for a list of activities and outings.

Payment For Nursing Home Care

One area many struggle with is how they’ll get the money to pay for the nursing home’s services. Medicare may pay for the nursing and therapy services your loved one received. You can find more details about what Medicare covers on their website. People who have Medicaid can use some of those benefits to pay their clinical and R&B (room and board) costs.

For some families, the cost of R&B can be paid for by long-term care insurance, or with their SSI (Social Security Disability Insurance) payments. SSI benefits are available for those who are at least 65 years old or are blind or disabled. Families who don’t have those resources must pay the R&B costs themselves.

Additional Costs

Be sure to find out which services will be covered by insurance, and which must be paid for by the family. For example, families must often pay separately for the facility to do laundry – or to take it home and do it. Other costs may include hairdressing fees, activity fees, internet fees, and other extras.

When all your information is gathered, don’t discount your gut feelings. Do you like the place? Do you think your loved one will like it? Choose the place that gives you the best overall feeling, and continue to follow your heart as you make your future visits to your loved ones.

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