For a spouse or an adult child, one of the most difficult decisions you will ever have to make is deciding that a spouse or parent requires more care than you can provide. Once you have made that difficult decision, the search for the right nursing home begins. Entrusting someone you love to the around the clock care of other people is difficult enough. Trying to decide the best place for that care can be a nerve wracking experience, particularly in light of some off the horror stories you hear on the news about nursing home abuse and neglect. Ultimately, only you can decide which nursing home is right for your loved one; however, to help you make the right choice, St. Louis elder law attorneys offer tips for finding the right nursing home.
- Determine your needs. You know that your spouse or parent requires more care than you are able to provide; however, that still leaves a lot of options. Sit down and determine the extent of care your loved one needs. Make a list of medical conditions and the treatment they require. Objectively consider your loved one’s current abilities and degree of self-sufficiency. If your loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s, assume that the level of care required may increase dramatically in a relatively short period of time.
- Ask for referrals. One of the best ways to find an excellent nursing home is to ask around for referrals. Almost everyone has a loved one in nursing home care or has some experience with at least one nursing home in the area. Ask for names of nursing homes people recommend as well as names of nursing homes that people would suggest you stay away from based on negative experiences they have had.
- Do your research. Although you should never choose a nursing home based solely on the information contained on the facility’s website, you may be able to find some helpful information there. Likewise, you cannot believe everything you read on the internet; however, you may find some fairly useful information by conducting some basic research on the internet.
- Check for violations and complaints. Take the time to check the facility’s history of violations and complaints as well as any official reviews of the facility. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is responsible for the oversight of long-term care facilities and the investigation of complaints in Missouri. You may also wish to use the Nursing Home Compare tool on the Medicare.gov website to compare nursing homes in your area.
- Schedule tours. Once you have narrowed down the list of potential facilities to a select few, it is time to schedule official tours of the facilities. During your tour, you can ask questions about things such as recreational activities for patients, the doctor/nurse patient ratio, the menus offered to patients, and other important questions.
- Stop by unannounced. While taking an official tour is always important, you may not get the true feel of the facility during an official, scheduled, visit. To make sure you really know how the facility feels and runs, stop by unannounced at least once. Try to talk to as many patients as possible. Catching staff members before or after working hours can also be a great way to ask questions that they might hesitate to answer honestly while on the clock. Be sure to drive by the facility at least once during the nighttime as well to see what the neighborhood is like after the sun goes down.
How Can St. Louis Elder Law Attorneys Help?
If you remain unsure about your decision, or you already made a decision and are now concerned that you made the wrong decision, a St. Louis elder law attorney may be able to help you. An elder law attorney can help explain your legal option to you to ensure that your loved one’s best interest are protected now and in the future.
If you have additional questions or concerns about choosing a nursing home, contact the experienced Missouri elder law attorneys at Amen, Gantner & Capriano, Your Estate Matters, LLC by calling (314) 966-8077 to schedule an appointment.