Caretakers at nursing homes and assisted living facilities need to meet standards in taking care of our families and loved ones. We entrust these institutions and caregivers with the most important people in our lives and expect their needs to be met, to be supervised so they aren’t a danger to themselves and to be treated with the dignity they deserve. Some patients are more vulnerable than others, such as those individuals suffering from dementia or who have serious physical handicaps.
Making the right decision for your loved one can be a time-consuming process, but well worth the effort, to make sure he or she is taken care of properly. There are many options, depending on the level of care and supervision needed.
Independent Living Communities
This type of housing is for individuals who can live completely independently. Residents have full autonomy and make decisions for themselves. These communities can be based on single family homes, apartments, duplexes, town homes, high-rises, or condos. Some communities might offer properties that could be owned or some that could be rented. They might come with recreational amenities or practical amenities like security.
Assisted Living Facility
This type of care facility is for someone who is minimally or not at all dependent on another person for care. There are typically shared, community areas such as dining rooms, game rooms, laundry rooms, or other places where residents can gather. The benefit is that these facilities might offer dining plans, security services, recreational activities, transportation services, or health services but still let your loved one live relatively independently.
Residential Care Facility
A residential care facility retains staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It may need to be state-licensed and the staff would need to comply with state laws and regulations. These facilities offer health and medical assistance. Residents need to be mentally aware and alert enough to care for their own basic needs such as eating, dressing, and bathing. They may offer moderate general assistance and sundry services such as laundry, dining plans, and housekeeping. Housing options can include individual rooms or shared rooms with private bathrooms but typically no kitchen.
Continuing Care Facilities
These facilities offer transitional housing for the individual who might not need that much assistance now but may need much more care later on. This type of community offers flexibility to the individual but also to couples who are at different stages regarding need for care. Since the community accepts people with different needs, it embraces strengthening the bond that couples have with each other as they go into their twilight years. These facilities will offer recreational and social activities but they can be expensive. Waiting lists can be long as well.
Nursing homes are 24 hour / 7 day per week staffed facilities offering medical and health support for loved ones who have serious or specialized health issues and need significant assistance. Oftentimes, family members are unable to care for loved ones themselves because of the extent of help needed or the specialization required. Or if loved ones have just gotten out of treatment or surgery and need rehabilitative assistance, nursing homes can be a good choice. You can find nursing homes that offer intermediate care or skilled care, the latter providing constant assistance by a registered nurse and ordered by a doctor. Some homes might offer custodial care as well. Custodial care does not provide the level of medical care provided in skilled care homes, but is more for people with mental issues such as Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia.
How To Decide?
There are many things you should do before making a choice. Assemble a list of options that you will whittle down. The State of Ohio Department of Health has Inspection Reports you can look at. Ask facilities for official facility descriptions. Ask for family satisfaction surveys to see what others said about their experience. Resident Satisfaction Survey Scores will also tell you how residents felt through face-to-face surveys that were taken. Talk with loved ones to get their opinions about what you find.
Schedule a time to go visit your options and talk with the staff. Make sure you bring a list of questions and remember to ask all of them. No question is too tough when it comes to choosing a nursing home or other care facility. Once you are at the facility make sure you and loved ones are observing everything carefully. Ask about food choices and ask if you can taste it. Is the facility noisy or quiet and why? Try to listen to how staff talk with one another and do the residents look calm and happy? How does it smell? Does it seem comfortable and are there plenty of places where residents can be? Ask about security and to be physically shown how the facility is being kept secure. Too many care facilities neglect their residents or have insufficiently trained staff. This can lead to injuries, mental and physical abuse, and other damages. Do as much as you can up front to make sure the home is right for your loved one.
Most Importantly, after placement of your loved one in any type of facility, it is crucial that you continue to act as a patient advocate. Daily or weekly visits with the patient and his or her care givers provides insight to your loved one’s condition. Any changes should be brought to the attention of the care givers. Follow up with the patient and care givers on issues raised and don’t hesitate to voice any concerns about the patients care.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a care facility, or you suspect neglect or abuse, contact Robenalt Law Firm today for a free consultation at (216) 223-7535, emailing [email protected], or filling out our online form.