When your loved one needs short term rehabilitation following an illness or surgery or long-term care services, it’s time to choose a skilled nursing facility. Timing is especially sensitive when your family member is in the hospital, you may only have a few hours to make an educated decision. But choosing a facility and knowing what important questions to ask can be difficult.
Where will your loved one be treated with compassion and dignity?
Which facility will work with them to set goals that will help them regain their independence?
Sifting through options can be time-consuming, but here are a few suggestions on ways to find the better facilities.
The National Institute on Aging suggests you meet with admission director as well as staff. Don't be afraid to ask probing questions, such as:
- How does the facility manage patients who are at risk for falling?
- How do you include the family as part of the treatment team?
- How many days a week are rehabilitation services provided?
- How many of your therapist licensed professionals?
- How do they honor do-not-resuscitate orders or advance directives?
- What additional steps has your facility taken to ensure they are providing quality care, are they accredited by the Joint Commission?
Make an unscheduled visit, ideally during mealtime
A visit during a meal — or a scheduled activity — can be a good window into the facility's inner workings. Ask yourself if your loved one would be comfortable there.
- Is the dining room clean?
- Does the food look and smell appetizing?
- Is the staff courteous with residents who need assistance eating?
- Do you see them serving options for modified diets or dietary restrictions?
Ask about rehabilitation
Has your loved one recently had a stroke, or did they break a bone in a fall? Solaris HealthCare believes a comprehensive rehabilitation program is the best approach. A skilled nursing facility will offer several types of in-house therapy to accommodate the rehab needs of its residents. Physical therapy is important across the board, but major neurologic events — such as a stroke — may require speech therapy to recover speech and swallowing. Occupational therapy is important if your loved one is acclimating to an assistive device like a cane or walker. It's important to have access to different types of therapy to recover mobility and independence.
Ask about long-term care
Sometimes your loved one may not be able to bounce back after a neurological or cardiac event or a bad fall. Solaris HealthCare, for example, offers several levels of long-term care, palliative care and hospice services should your loved one not be able to resume life as it was before. The organization prides itself on transitioning residents smoothly into the next phase or care.
When your loved one needs that extra help to recover their independence, or if they need long-term care, be sure to find a facility that's clean, caring and committed to a high quality of life for the elderly. Find a facility that is committed to doing the right thing, every time.