Will you or your loved one need to move into a nursing home? Senior caregiving and the decision to move into a long-term care facility may be one of the most difficult decisions you and your family will ever have to make. Now that the decision is made, how do you choose the right one? What type of challenges will you and your loved one face? Is it possible to plan forward to ensure that your needs or the needs of a loved one, both now and in the future, can be met by the facility you choose? Addressing senior caregiving in your estate plan will ease the decision-making burden.
Finding a facility that can meet the health care needs of your loved one is only the beginning of your search. There are numerous factors to consider that you may not have even thought about. In this blog, we would like to share a 13 Point Nursing Home Checklist you may review and use in your research for the right facility for your loved one.
1. Health care services offered by the facility. You may not know this, but not all long-term care facilities provide the same health care services. First, determine what health care services your loved one needs. This will be your first point to determine if the facility could be a fit for your loved one.
2. Location. Why does the location matter? Because your loved one may want to stay in the community where they lived throughout their life.
3. Additional levels of care. What happens if your loved one declines or improves, can they stay in the facility? Knowing now may prevent a need for a move later on.
4. Managing and supervising medications. Be sure to ask if medication management is included or if it is an additional service.
5. Programs offered and participation encouraged. Did you know that loneliness and isolation are a leading cause of death for Older Americans? Be sure that the facility provides programs and opportunities for your loved one to be engaged.
6. Communication plan for you and your family. What is the communication plan of the facility with you, multiple family members, or even the agent for the loved one under a durable power of attorney?
7. Internet communication plan. Will you be able to connect with your loved one? For instance, will you be able to use FaceTime or Skype or Messenger, to name just a few? Be sure the facility has a plan that you can connect with your loved one once they become a resident.
8. State licenses held by the facility. Complete your due diligence by looking into the facility’s licensing and make sure it is up-to-date. In addition, find out if there have been any significant issues. If there were challenges, how were they addressed?
9. Review the disaster management plan. All facilities should have a plan for how they will manage disasters. Disasters can be anything from viruses to natural disasters to power outages and more. Before signing any contract, you need to discuss and know what to expect if there are any disasters and the facility’s plan for handling these issues.
10. Research and read reviews and ask everyone you can for their opinion about the facility. Before you visit, research the facility and read online reviews. When visiting the facility, if you can, ask residents what they think of the facility.
11.Check out the staff, turnover, and whether the health care provider for your loved one can provide care. Take time to meet and talk to the people working in the facility. Does the staff seem happy? Involved? Busy? Is staff turnover high? If your loved one has a current health care provider, be sure they will be able to enter into the facility to treat your loved one.
12. Finances. Does the facility accept programs such as Medicaid and long-term care insurance that can help offset the high cost of care?
13. Evaluate the facility in person. You will want to schedule a tour, but also consider an unscheduled tour so that you can evaluate the facility without it having time to prepare for your arrival.
This is the beginning of the research you want to complete before placing a loved one in a long-term care facility of any kind. Remember, at the end of the day, we encourage you to discuss senior caregiving as well as your goals with your Florida elder law attorney. Your attorney can help guide you in this decision so your loved one can find and access good long-term care.
Our estate planning law firm takes a very different approach from what you might have come to expect. Our goal is to create lifelong relationships with each of our clients, to guide and manage your legacy for the rest of your life. Please contact our offices in Stuart and in Palm City to learn more.