Important Questions to Ask Long-Term Care Facilities

Do you have a loved one who needs to begin looking for a long-term care facility? Have you talked to your loved one and offered to help find the “just right” facility for your loved one? There are many important factors to consider when looking for the right facility, such as price, location, and safety record. Your loved one should be comfortable with the facility if he or she is going to live there. However, these concerns are only the beginning.

We would like to review some important questions you should be asking when doing your research on long-term care facilities.

1. Accreditation? Did you know that all skilled nursing home facilities must comply with federal regulations if they receive Medicare and Medicaid payments. In fact, did you know that states also require nursing home certifications? There is also an organization called the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations that further accredits nursing homes. Now, it is true that participation is voluntary but approval from the Joint Commission shows an extra level of transparency and care.

2. Environment? Did you know that the environment is more about observing the facility than it is asking a nursing home’s management for answers? For example, you can observe and see if the facility is clean or if it is located in a safe neighborhood. What is the quality of the outside gardens and interior décor? These are not frivolous judgments, but important criteria for long-term residence.

3. Medical care? Always be sure to meet with the facility’s top administrator and medical director when you and your loved one visit a nursing home. You both will also want to meet with staff members who might provide medical care to your loved one. Ask if there is a doctor on-site. Will your loved one still be able to see his or her doctors? If the answer is yes, will the nursing home provide transportation?

4. Nursing aides? Did you know that nursing aides are considered the backbone of nursing home care? If the facility you and your loved one are visiting has a high nursing aide turnover rate that can be a major red flag. You should also look into the reputation of the facility’s nursing staff, but you do not have to rely on the facility for the information. You can contact an area nursing home ombudsman or the agency that regulates nursing homes in your state for information.

5. Recreational activities and social opportunities? As your loved one will probably agree, elder adults need social interaction and enjoyable activities to be fulfilled, healthy, and mentally stimulated. This also helps keep loneliness and social isolation away. Long-term care facilities should provide a wide range of activities and social opportunities. If they do not, consider it a huge drawback.

We encourage you not to wait to ask us your elder law questions on this or any important issue facing Florida seniors today. The experienced team of attorneys here at Hemness Faller, The Law Office formerly known as Emma Hemness, P.A., are here for you and your family and we want to be YOUR estate planning and elder law attorneys. After all, we are ordinary people, providing extraordinary guidance backed by years of experience and advocacy for the vulnerable citizens in our community. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with us.