One of the best resources in finding the right nursing home is word of mouth. Ask friends and family about their experiences. Medicare Nursing Home Compare provides a 5-star rating system. This rating system looks at a combination of factors, such as staffing ratios, licensing survey results, and quality trends. This can be a good indicator of overall quality.
A personal tour can provide valuable information about the condition and quality of the facility. Make an appointment with the Admissions Department to schedule a tour of the community. It can be helpful to ask to speak with key personnel, such as the Director of Nursing or Administrator to learn more about the community and its management. Once you have narrowed your list of possible communities, I recommend a second unannounced visit, possibly on an evening or weekend. This can be a good indicator of how the associates respond during off-key hours. Ask questions about: private vs. semi private rooms; staffing patterns; choices at meals; and any specific needs that your loved one may have. (For example, do they have a secured unit for residents who wander? Can they manage a PEG tube?)
It’s also important to know how you will be funding your nursing home stay. Medicare will pay for up to 100 days of care if your loved one has had a 3 day hospitalization and has needs that can only be met by licensed nurses or therapists. Medicare does not pay for custodial care. The options for payment for custodial care include Private Payment and Medicaid. Private payments may be reduced if your loved one has a long-term care policy that covers nursing home care. Medicaid is an insurance program that helps people who do not have the finances to afford nursing home care. However, not all nursing homes are certified by Medicare and Medicaid, so it’s important to select a nursing home that accepts your insurance or method of payment.