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Tips For Choosing a Long-Term Care Facility

Tips on Choosing a Long Term Care Facility.

Three weeks after my mom had a heart attack, it was time to move her to a long-term care or rehab facility. The social worker at the hospital handed us a packet filled with names of facilities and told us to pick one. This was a huge task, and we were completely unprepared. The only thing we could do was narrow down the location, but after that we were flying blind. Even finding basic information proved difficult. Many facilities either didn’t have websites or the websites were pretty useless. The first place we picked failed to meet our standards. Frantic, I found myself calling around on a Saturday morning looking for a better option—and wishing I was better prepared.

Consider these tips and you’ll be better prepared than we were:

  • Utilize Your Network
    Get on Facebook or Twitter, update your CaringBridge page or send a mass email to your family and friends and ask for referrals. A personal recommendation goes a long way for something this important. My mom ended up at a wonderful facility mentioned by a family friend. I never would’ve known it existed without the referral.
  • Take a Tour
    Most likely the hospital wants to move you along quickly and discharge the patient, but if you have the time, get to a couple facilities and check them out. Meet the staff, peek in the rooms, examine the common areas and ask questions.
  • Get on Waiting Lists
    Many times the nicest places will have waiting lists. Put your name down; people transfer out quickly and you can always move if a space at your first choice opens up.
  • Go With Your Gut
    My mom didn’t want to make a fuss, but I could tell from day one that she wasn’t happy at our first pick. Once I visited, I felt the same. I got her on the waiting list for another facility and she moved within the week. It was so much better: more friendly, private, cheery and clean.

Provide Your Own Tips

What other suggestions or helpful hints do you have when selecting a long term care facility? Or better yet, after your own experiences what things do you think people should avoid or do differently? Everyone enjoys receiving tips before it is too late– so help another caregiver out! The more suggestions, the better.

About the Author:

Amanda Fretheim Gates is a writer and editor living in Minneapolis.

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3 Replies

  • By Michelle

    Pop in to visit unannounced, especially around 7:30 am and insist on seeing your loved one. Stop by at multiple times of day over several days – regardless of visiting hours. Learn when bathing time is and be there – waiting to see just how much care is taken. Be a squeaky wheel. Buy elastic pants and Velcro shoes. Make sure the ratio of LNAs to residents is at least 2 to 10 or BETTER. Check the food, eat it.

  • By Donna

    I’m a Long Term Care Insurance agent. Many of today’s policies include a care coordination service as well as a contact for referrals and recommendations. If you have a policy for yourself, you can even use the service when looking for care for your aging parents. A long term care insurance policy is the ultimate way to plan ahead for the care that you or loved ones may need.

  • By Mary Ann

    If your loved one allows, ask to be at the care plan meeting when your loved one”s services and supports are decided upon. All key supervisors are usually at these meetings. Ask for a copy of the written care plan. If during your visits you observe that the plan is not being followed, or if your loved one reports that things are not being done, meet with staff right away and refer back to this plan. 2) Make sure every personal item for your loved one is labeled with his or her name – clothing, shoes, personal blankets, even glasses. Things can get mixed up among residents in the laundry, bathing room, community rooms, etc.