Skilled Nursing Care

What to Look For in a Skilled Nursing Facility

Know The Warning Signs: When is it time to consider a skilled nursing facility?

When is the right time to consider Skilled Nursing Care, commonly referred to as Nursing Homes? Whether you are looking for yourself or a loved one, it helps to know the warning signs. Perhaps you notice increasing lapses in memory or confusion when it comes to medication? Maybe there is noticeable decline in your physical well-being caused by a serious fall or medical condition? These are signs that you or a loved one may need frequent monitoring because without it, death or further decline is a risk. In such cases, Skilled Nursing Care may be the right choice. The Senior Transition Guide helps you ask the right questions about nursing homes. It helps you learn about the level of nursing care you may require, and with more 16,000 Skilled Nursing Facilities in the US, this guide helps identify excellent communities in your area of choice.

What to Look For in a Skilled Nursing Facility

As you walk through a nursing home, what do you see? What is the condition of the facility? Do the residents seem comfortable? Are they in and out of their rooms? Do you notice if they are clean, well groomed, and appropriately dressed for the season or time of day? Are residents sitting alone in the hallways or are they engaged in an activity? Are staff members conversing with the residents as they pass by? The level of research involved in selecting the quality of a Skilled Nursing Care Facility can – and should be- extensive. The Senior Transition Guide helps you with this research and reduces the risk involved in the selection process.

The Truth about Nursing Homes
By Kristie Larsen, MSL CASP NHA PHR

Executive Director Fellowship Square - Historic Mesa 
May 2013
It is a difficult decision to make when a loved one is ready for a skilled nursing facility (SNF) or nursing home.  We have all seen the advertisements from a lawyer for hire and heard the stories of abuse.  But beyond the hype, nursing homes across America provide safe, caring homes for thousands of seniors.  Nursing homes may provide long term care or short term skilled rehab for those recovering from an illness or injury.

Nursing homes provide 24/7 licensed nursing care, nutrition, social services and life enrichment programs.    Programs designed to encourage residents to live purposeful, productive and engaged lives.   There are opportunities for residents to be compassionate coaches interacting with the staff and community where history comes alive!

The only industry more regulated than the nursing home industry is possibly the nuclear power industry.  Why so many regulations?  Nursing home residents are the most vulnerable, requiring the highest level of care.  Regulations set the standard of care designed to maximize the quality of life.

What do you look for when it is your loved one needing skilled nursing care and how do you choose a quality nursing home?  Your State Department of Health Services may have a rating system published online when they complete the required yearly surveys.  This will give you an opportunity to view the number and severity of citations for a home.  The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also have a five star rating system for homes that are certified at http://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare    Ratings may be helpful but unannounced visits to the home and testimonies or referrals from others who have experienced the home are important.  Suggested questions when visiting:
·       What is the staffing ratio?  How many direct caregivers and nurses per resident?
·       What is the attitude of staff?  Are they friendly and professional?
·       Are residents well groomed, happy and engaged with staff?
·       Is the home clean and welcoming?
·       What are the mission, vision and values of the home?  Ask for a copy.  Is the home profit driven or not-for-profit mission driven?

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