10 Tips to Choose the Right Nursing Home

Choosing the right home for your loved one is critically important. Unfortunately, horror stories about nursing home care are often based on truth. When we examine information from ProPublica, we can see there are several nursing homes throughout the state with serious deficiencies, including many with infection-related deficiencies.

Choosing the right nursing home can be a confusing process, but we want to offer some tips that may help make the process a little bit easier.

Some Quick Tips for Choosing the Nursing Home That Respects Your Loved One

Just a quick note – we know that some of these tips are harder to accomplish. This isn’t a “finish every point or don’t do it at all” type of list. Do as much as you reasonably can, and don’t feel bad if you don’t get it all right at first.

  1. Evaluate physical and mental limitations. It’s vital to assess any physical disabilities or mental health conditions your loved one may have. This evaluation helps in choosing a facility that can effectively cater to these specific requirements, such as providing mobility assistance or specialized dementia care.
  2. Assess health care requirements. Understanding the medical needs of your loved one is essential. This involves knowing their current medical conditions, medications, and any regular medical treatments or therapies they require. A facility that can meet these healthcare needs is crucial for their well-being.
  3. Involve your loved one in decision-making. Whenever possible, it’s important to involve your loved one in the decision-making process. Their preferences regarding living arrangements, amenities, and even cultural or dietary needs can play a significant role in their comfort and happiness in the nursing home.
  4. List and prioritize needs and wants. Create a comprehensive list of what is essential for your loved one’s care (like medical needs and type of accommodations) and what they desire (like recreational activities and religious services). This helps in narrowing down facilities that best match these criteria.
  5. Seek personal referrals. Personal recommendations from friends, family, or colleagues who have had experience with nursing homes can be invaluable. They can provide insights into the quality of care, staff behavior, and overall environment of the facility.
  6. Investigate complaints and violations. Researching the facility’s history of complaints or regulatory violations is crucial. This can be done through the state’s health department website or other regulatory bodies. A history of repeated violations or complaints can be a red flag.
  7. Review quality ratings. Websites like Medicare.gov offer quality ratings for nursing homes based on health inspections, staff, and quality measures. These ratings can help you understand the overall quality of care provided by the facility.
  8. Verify healthcare providers’ credentials. Ensuring that the medical staff, especially the primary healthcare providers at the facility, are fully licensed and have a good professional record is important for ensuring quality medical care.
  9. Consider recreational and social activities. The availability of social, recreational, and cultural activities can significantly impact your loved one’s quality of life. Facilities that offer a variety of activities can help residents stay engaged and active.
  10. Understand complaint procedures. Knowing in advance how a facility handles complaints and issues is crucial. This includes understanding the process for filing a complaint, response times, and how issues are resolved. A transparent and effective complaint resolution process is indicative of a facility’s commitment to quality care and resident satisfaction. Your complaints may need to rise to the level of reporting to the New Mexico Department of Health.

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