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Health Education Blog

5 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Skilled Nursing Facility

Posted by Staff on October 13, 2016

doctor_and_patients_in_nursing_homeThere’s no place like home, but when physical limitations and severe disabilities can no longer be managed by residential or home-care services, a home-like atmosphere is the next best thing.

When considering skille nursing facilities, it's important to be able to imagine it as "home" for your loved one, as well as get answers to the questions below and any others you may have.

1.  What’s the difference between assisted living and a skilled nursing facility?

When a senior doesn’t require extensive medical care, but needs more assistance than can be provided at home, then an assisted living community is a good option. This type of facility allows residents to live independently in their own living space, have a scheduled calendar of events, quick access to a resident doctor or nurse on staff, getassistance with personal needs such as dressy or personal hygiene, and have meals provided.

If a person requires round-the-clock nursing care, cannot be left alone due to an illness such as dementia, needs assistance with meals, personal hygiene, medications or getting around, requires more care than a family member or caregiver can provide, and simply can no longer live alone, then a skilled nursing facility may be the best option.

2.  When should I consider using a skilled nursing facility?

A skilled nursing facility offers long and short term care for individuals who need rehabilitation services or who suffer from serious or persistent health issues or can no longer be tended to at home or in an assisted living facility.

For example, patients who require constant licensed nursing care, medication administration, wound care, external feedings, IV therapy, suffer from a disease like dementia or Alzheimer’s, or who have significant deficiencies with the activities of daily living.

A skilled nursing facility provides care from trained professionals who perform services needed. Some examples include:

  • A nurse attending to a post-operative wound or dispensing intravenous medication
  • A physical therapist working with a resident to correct strength and balance issues
  • A speech therapist helping a resident learn how to communicate again following a stroke

Not all skilled nursing facilities offer the same services, so it’s important to visit more than one before making a choice.

3.  How do I evaluate a skilled nursing facility?

Deciding to put a loved one in a skilled nursing facility, or accepting the fact yourself that a skilled nursing facility is the best option for you, can be a difficult conclusion to come to. It’s important to know that you’ve made the right decision for the right reasons.

When deciding on a skilled nursing facility, you can get a sense of the quality of care that's provided by going through the following checklist:

  • Is the community in good physical shape?
  • Do the public areas smell fresh and free of unpleasant odors?
  • Do the residents appear taken care of? (Well-groomed, dressed appropriately, engaged in activity, etc.)
  • Are staff members friendly and interactive with both residents and visitors?
  • What is the ratio of staff to residents?
  • On average, how long do residents appear to wait when they request help using a call button?
  • Is the facility understaffed and/or caregivers required to work double shifts?
  • How often are care conferences scheduled among staff members and family to monitor and/or adjust the care that is being provided to the resident?
  • What types of activities are available to residents?
  • Is transportation available for off-site medical appointments and can staff members coordinate the transportation if needed?

There are many myths that people believe about skilled nursing facilities; however all skilled nursing facilities aren’t created equal. It’s up to you to be the advocate for your friend, family member, or yourself, by asking good questions upfront and knowing the type of atmosphere that the resident will thrive in.

A community atmosphere with numerous activities to choose from may be important, or the resident may prefer a more serene environment that’s located only a mile or two from a family member. Finances are an inevitable reality as well, so know going in what the resident can afford, how it’s going to be paid for, and the financial component of care at the skilled nursing facility.

4.  How can I prepare my loved one?

One of the hardest parts about choosing a skilled nursing facility is having to convince your loved one that it’s necessary for them to move. Most people will want to stay at home.

Often your loved one’s doctor or nurse may be more persuasive and seen as more of a neutral expert on the matter and may be able to help convince them to go. You should also take your relative to visit different facilities and encourage them to talk to residents who live there.

Whatever strategy you use, preparation is key. Listen and acknowledge concerns, but always come back to the fact that moving to a facility is in their best interest.

5.  When can I schedule a visit to the Hovlid Community Care Center?

Right now! The Hovlid Community Care Center at Orchard Hospital is a 21-bed skilled nursing facility specifically designed for individuals who have serious disabilities that can no longer be supported through residential or home care.

HCCC offers personalized plans of care for complex skilled nursing and dynamic rehabilitation programs. Residents receive 24-hour care and treatment under the supervision of their personal physicians.

Physical, speech and occupational therapies are available. HCCC prides itself in providing nursing care that has a home-like atmosphere. HCCC has a recreation and social program that appeal to a wide variety of preferences among residents. HCCC is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

For more information regarding HCCC Skilled Nursing Facility, please call 530-846-9065.

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