by Kathy Cooper
The first time my mom went in to a nursing home, we had about 3 hours to decide which would be best, and that included finding a nursing home with an open room and making all of the arrangements. She had had a stroke and needed rehabilitation and possibly on-going long term care after that. I thought she would be in the hospital for a week or two longer, but the doctor said she was ready to move to a facility … now! I can tell you that this is not in the least unusual. You generally have a very short time to place your loved one in a facility.
The second time, we were better prepared because we learned a few things from our first experience. A word to the wise: be prepared. You never know when you or your older loved one might be in need of a nursing home. Breaking a hip, having a stroke, developing Parkinson’s, dementia or Alzheimers are only a few of the indicators that a nursing home is on the horizon.
How can you be prepared? First, know where you can get good rating information about nursing homes. The federal government has a website that compares the quality of facilities (see Medicare Nursing Home Comparison) and Pro Publica also provides information about problems in various facilities at Pro Publica Nursing Home Inspections. Second, check with friends and family for experiences they have had. Third, visit facilities to make sure they meet your standards; talk to the staff, tour the facility and speak with families who have residents there.
A more difficult and equally important issue is how you will pay for the care you need. This is where an elder law attorney can help you understand your options. Oftentimes, there are benefits available to help you, but you have to find out about them and plan in a specific way to get them. Each situation is unique and requires a strategy that is tailor-made. Call our office if you wish to discuss your options.
Do you have an answer to “Which nursing home do you want your loved one to go to tomorrow morning?”