When it comes to choosing a nursing home, it can be an incredibly difficult decision to make. After all, a nursing home can be putting its best foot forward during your visit, but it often takes someone living there before you actually know if the nursing home is right for them. (Choosing a nursing home advocate is one of the few ways to really vet a nursing home before moving in.)
Once your loved one is in a facility, what do you look for to make sure they’re in the best nursing home possible? In other words, how do you determine their quality of life? The elderly often don’t want to be a burden to their children, so they might not complain about the quality of care they’re getting. Considering they’ve probably never been in a nursing home before, they might not even know about the level of care they should be receiving.
Those who are in a nursing home have the right to certain levels of care. If you don’t yet have a nursing home patient advocate, you might want to call one if you notice that any of the following types of care are being neglected.
A Responsive Facility
When a nursing home knows that you’re shopping around for a new home for your elderly loved one, of course they’ll be responsive. They’ll be ready to answer your questions at a moment’s notice, because they want your business.
What’s even more important is how responsive a nursing home is after the resident has moved in. A nursing home should always listen to a resident’s concerns, no matter how large or small. They should also be responsive to those who have a legal connection to the resident, such as children. (Some residents may be more comfortable raising their concerns to the children than speaking directly to staff.) A good nursing home should also make sure that the resident herself is involved in discussions between the nursing home and the family, so that decisions aren’t being made behind their back.
Remember, you are employing the nursing home to provide a service. You should never feel uncomfortable requesting an audience with the staff and expecting them to respond. If you’re uncomfortable doing that, making use of a nursing home advocate such as Guardians of Care might be your best option. Nursing home patient advocates can speak on your behalf, and we’re very good at getting care centers to respond to our requests.
A nursing home isn’t just a place to stick people until they die. A nursing home is a place where residents should continue their lives, and that means being able to make choices while they live there.
As long as someone is still mentally able to make safe decisions for themselves, they should be allowed to. The staff of the nursing home should not restrict their residents from making decisions, so long as those decisions are within reason. This includes having the opportunity to be involved in activities that other residents are involved in — or having the agency to say no to such activities. The activity programs should also ensure that each resident has something appropriate for the individual’s abilities considering their current mental and physical state.
Comfortable Sound, Light, and Temperature Levels
It’s pretty obvious how these can affect anyone’s quality of life, not just those who are elderly. We all want to have a place to live with comfortable temperatures, proper lighting, and soundscapes that make us feel welcome.
All of these can become even more important as someone gets frailer with age. The elderly are more susceptible to both cold and heat, and proper lighting is necessary to accommodate aging eyes. And while many people in a nursing home might suffer from hearing loss, it’s the quality of sound that’s important; constant alarms and jarring sounds can have a negative emotional and mental effect on everyone in a nursing home.
Needs and Preferences
This is certainly a broad category when talking about nursing home quality of care, but it’s important to remember that each resident has individual needs and preferences. Making sure both are taking care of can improve his or her quality of life.
- Dietary – Are the resident’s dietary needs being taken care of? Many nursing home residents have restrictions on salt and sugar or have allergies to accommodate.
- Religious – Does the resident have what they need in order to practice their faith as they have in the past? Are food requirements being met to meet their religious diet?
- Room-sharing – Are the resident’s roommate preferences being listened to? If something goes wrong between roommates, is the problem addressed quickly?
- Medical Issues – Does the nursing home have the staff on hand to address the medical needs of each resident?
Is the Environment Safe and Comfortable?
Of course, we all want the residents in nursing homes to be safe, and comfort should be a given as well. As we mentioned in this blog, it’s vitally important that the facility is inspected before a resident moves in (preferably by a professional nursing home advocate). Call systems, pest control, residential density, equipment, and room safety should all be vetted to ensure the residents are safe.
Cleanliness is also an important part of quality of life in a nursing home. Are the linens cleaned appropriately and in good condition overall? Is the facility clean overall, including rooms, hallways, and common areas? Is proper maintenance being performed in order to keep the nursing home in good order? Bringing in a nursing home advocate can help determine if all of these issues are being addressed.
Contact Guardians of Care Today
We want to make sure that the quality of care — and quality of life — are prioritized when you’re looking for the best nursing home around. Likewise, if your loved one is already in a nursing home, it’s important that they’re living each day to the fullest in a clean and safe environment that is addressing all of their needs.
If you need help navigating the world of nursing homes, our advocates are here to help. Contact Guardians of Care today!