Every day, thousands of people across this country realize that their loved ones probably need more care than they are able to give them at home. Making a choice to place a loved one in a nursing home can be incredibly difficult, but it is often necessary. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has completely altered most people’s way of life. The pandemic has also made it much harder to get a loved one into a nursing home. The novel coronavirus is known to be more detrimental to nursing home populations, which has led to significant quarantine and lockdown measures at these facilities. Here, we want to discuss some tips for finding a nursing home during this trying global health crisis.
Determine Your Budget
The first step when choosing a nursing home for your loved one is finding one that your family can afford. In many cases, the cost of care for your loved one will be determined by how much attention they need. Maybe they only need limited care, such as medication reminders. Perhaps they need care with all daily movements, including feeding and bathing.
After you determine the amount of care that your loved one will need, this will help you narrow down your budget and your choices of nursing homes available in your area. Determine what you can afford and then use that number to guide your search.
Use Online Resources for Your Search
There are various online resources that you can use to help identify quality nursing homes in your area. Of course, you can begin your search on Google to find nursing homes that are closest to you. However, you need to look beyond a simple Google search. Medicare’s website offers a strong search assistant when it comes to nursing homes. When you go to their page, you can narrow down a nursing home search based on your location. This page will also identify nursing homes in your area that have been accused of or had proven instances of abuse or neglect within the last year.
Visit the Facility (if Possible)
You do need to visit any facility that you are considering placing your loved one. A visit may be structured quite differently during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, but this may be the only way to get a good sense of whether the nursing home is the right location for your loved one. Call the facility and inquire as to whether they are giving tours at this time. It may be the case that the facility is giving video tours. If that is true, be sure to get a “live” tour and not a pre-recorded tour.
Look Beyond the Guided Tour
When you do visit a facility, you will likely be given a typical guided tour in which staff will show you an example resident room, the dining room, the activity areas, and more. While this may be a good way to get an overall view of the facility, there are other things you need to be mindful of. Ask yourself the following questions when you are touring a nursing home:
Do you notice any smells of urine or strong cleaning products?
Do you notice any unpleasant sounds?
How do the residents look? Are they clean and well-groomed? Do the residents seem happy?
How does the food look and smell? How are the residents responding to the food?
In many cases, you will need to rely on your instincts when deciding whether or not the facility will be a good place for your loved one. If something seems “off” to you, then that may be a sign that the facility is not the right one for your family member.