While many of us would likely prefer not to think about it, there will more than likely come a time when we will have to actively research nursing homes to assume care of our loved ones. Indeed, these loved ones might not even be elderly parents, but spouses requiring short-term rehabilitation following an accident or siblings in need of long-term care as their permanently disabling condition progresses.
Here, any reluctance that accompanies this endeavor typically stems from the very real fear that a substandard facility could result in abuse or neglect, or, equally important, profound unhappiness on the part of our loved one.
The good news for people in this situation is that experts have identified some essential qualities that are common to all great nursing homes, meaning traits that, if present, will grant them peace of mind about their choice and their loved ones considerable happiness going forward.
The focus is always on the resident
While treating residents the same, meaning not defining them by their age, illness or other limitations, is important in the sense that it fosters a sense of safety and belonging, experts indicate that it's also important for nursing homes to make sure that there is a real focus on the uniqueness of individual residents, as it helps build a real community.
In order to determine whether this quality is present, experts suggest that when visiting nursing homes, loved ones should observe staff members to see if they are always pleasant with residents and visitors, and to ask management how they respond to individuals that may present more of a challenge.
Residents are empowered to make decisions
Another quality of a great nursing home, say experts, is that they provide residents with considerable freedom and/or a host of choices concerning everything from sleep times and food offerings to dining options and even clothing. The best situations, they say, are those in which enough options are provided so that a person can come as close as possible to living as they did before entering the nursing home.
We'll continue this discussion in future posts. In the meantime, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible if you have concerns that your loved one is being victimized by poor nursing home care or worse.