When you are faced with the decision about moving a loved one to a long-term care facility it is not easy. People generally prefer not to talk about it, but at some point, it is very likely your loved ones will need help. After finding out about ALTCS eligibility, you have then got to find the right facility.
If you have got a loved one with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or another disability, they might need to move into long-term care at some point. While the majority of Americans who need care can receive it at home, someone with Alzheimer’s, for example, is more likely to receive care in a nursing home.
A 2012 report indicated that 75% of people diagnosed with the disease would be admitted to a nursing home by the age of 80, knowing how to choose a long-term care facility is important. Here are some steps that will help.
1. Determine The Needs of Your Loved One
Before you can start looking for any kind of long-term-care facility, you first need to determine what sort of care your loved one needs. There are several levels of care, for example:
- Assisted living: This type of care is for those who need help in one or two activities of daily living, such as bathing or dressing.
- Skilled nursing: This level of care is for those who need the attention of a nurse every day. They might be bedridden or have more complex behavior issues.
- Memory care: This care is specifically for people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
It is possible for a facility to offer more than one level of care under one roof, but not all offer such an option.
As well as the level of care, you should also take into account where your loved one would want to be. Do they, for example, have special dietary needs or require pet-friendly accommodation? Would they prefer to live in the suburbs or downtown? Do they want to stay in the same area where they currently live or move closer to family in another city?
2. Think About the Cost
If your loved one does not have long-term-care insurance or other financial resources to pay for their care, your options may be limited.
Health insurance and Medicare do not cover the cost of long-term care, however, if they are a veteran, they might be eligible for help from the Department of Veteran Affairs. Medicaid rules vary from state to state, but in general, will pay for long-term-care services.
3. Start Looking
Once you know where things stand financially and the type of facility your loved one needs, you are able to start your search. A good place to start is to ask doctors, friends, and family, for recommendations. In addition, there are other resources you can use to help you draw up a list of senior care properties that might fit the bill.
- Eldercare Locator: A US Administration on Aging service that provides links to Area Agencies on Aging. They’ll be able to provide a list of facilities and information about long-term-care options.
- A Place for Mom: This is the largest senior-care adviser service in the US. You’ll find a list of around 19,000 senior-care properties.
- Nursing Home Compare tool from Medicare.gov: This online tool allows you to compare skilled-nursing facilities based on the quality of care they provide. In addition, you’ll be able to find out what special services are on offer and check out the results of health and safety inspections.
- National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers: Provides a member directory that can help you find a care manager in your area.
You should compile a list of properties that best meet your loved one’s requirements and wants. Also make sure each one on your list is licensed by checking with the state’s health and human services department or Medicare.gov.
4. Visit Possible Facilities
You will only be able to get so far in your research online and by phone. To really get a feel for a place and know whether it is right for your loved one, you will need to visit. Aim to inspect at least three in person. Get in there, take a good look, walk around, meet the residents, talk to staff, even sit down and have a meal.
It is recommended that you make an appointment to tour the residence during the week and speak with administrators. Also, plan to make an impromptu visit to each on a weekend. You’ll be able to check how the facility operates when the administrator isn’t there.
5. What to Look For
Here are some things to look for when choosing a long-term care facility:
- Cleanliness: As part of the tour, make sure you ask to look at resident’s rooms and common areas. Also, how clean and well-groomed are the residents? Let your nose be a good guide. If the facility doesn’t smell right, it should be a cause for concern.
- Quality of the staff: Ask about staff and caregivers, their qualifications and experience. Ask for references and check them.
- On-site medical personnel: Is there a registered nurse on site at all times? If not, how often are they there?
- Activities for residents: During your tour, you should see signs that list the day’s activities. Hopefully, you will see activities taking place.
- Physical setup: Is it more of an apartment complex or a hospital? Can residents bring their own furniture and other belongings? Is the layout simple to navigate? Is it secure enough to prevent patients from wandering off?
Finally, there is no one better way to find out about a facility than to ask the residents. Ask them if they like living there, whether the staff treat them well, what they do to keep themselves busy, what they are learning, and whether they get to go off site.
While the process of choosing a long-term care facility may seem overwhelming, approaching it in the right way will make a massive difference to you and your loved one’s happiness.