How to choose a nursing home in the United States?

At present, there are approximately 16,100 nursing homes in the United States holding a total of 1.5 million residents. Those figures are from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It is also estimated that by 2040, the number of people who need the services of nursing home may increase to about 2.7 million.

With thousands of options available while you are looking for a nursing home for your loved one, it’s not a piece of cake to select a suitable option. Here are few questions that you should ask in order to ease your process of decision making:

  1. Are residents allowed to make choices?

nursing homes

Loss of independence is one of the biggest concerns of the seniors when it comes to selecting a nursing home. Of course, the more freedom that the residents receive, the more comfortable they feel during their time living there. That’s why it is necessary to ask some questions about the freedom that residents may have, such as: Are residents allowed to choose their food, to arrange their room? Can residents decide when to watch TV, when to eat? Once you realize that the nursing home you are visiting doesn’t offer much freedom as you expected, you can step to another option.

  1. Is the facility certified and accredited?

In the United States, the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) is responsible for inspecting, accrediting and certifying health care organizations including nursing homes. If the facility you are considering has been accredited by JCAHO, you don’t not have to worry much about the safety and quality of its services. In case you are expecting for financial assistance from the nursing home, don’t forget to ask about the Medicare’s certification. Medicare only pays for facilities that it has certified.

  1. What are the official policies?

Not all nursing homes in the United States have the same policies, so you have to spend time looking for information about official policies of the one you are considering. Here are some questions you might ask before deciding which nursing home you choose for your loved one:

– Is smoking allowed?

– Is there restricted visiting time?

– Are residents given access to mobile device?

– Can they still see their own doctors?

– Can residents raise a pet in the facility?

  1. How are the staff?

choose a nursing home

Pay much attention on observing the staff on their working. Check if they have good attitude towards the residents? Find out how many staff are there and are they overworked? In some nursing homes, lack of staff results in poor services offered to residents.

  1. What about preventative care?

When your loved one is getting older, there are several concerns about their health risks. What you expect from a nursing home is not only their attention to daily activities and status but also their preventative care programs. It’s much better if the nursing home, for example, provide healthy diets and encourage residents to do physical exercises on a regular basis. Besides, vaccination programs for common infections are other important things that you should take consideration.

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