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Caring for Our Aging Loved Ones

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6 Things to Look For in a Skilled Nursing Facility

May 28, 20232 min read

Excerpts from the Elder Angel Online Resource Guide

Most of the time, our venture into the Skilled Nursing Home world is started with an unexpected trip to the hospital for our loved one. This can be due to a stroke, an infection (like pneumonia) and a fall with a broken bone. Occasionally this process is started when an elderly person has been slowly deteriorating from dementia, but even then there is usually an unexpected and stressful event that begins the process. Sadly, this makes for a lot of panic and the tendency to make bad decisions. I am writing this in hopes of giving people a reference book to smooth the process and help to communicate and coordinate with the professionals who will be caring for your loved one. 

With that said, here are 6 things to look for in a Skilled Nursing Facility.

1. Are the rooms and patients clean and "manicured"?

Is their hair combed, dressed if possible, no linens on the floor, etc. 

2. Check the Rehabilitation Department if therapy is needed.

Do they have nice equipment? Are staff members friendly?

3. Are they paging overhead?

Skilled Nursing Facilities should not be paging overhead. Hospitals still do, but not nursing homes.

4. How does the staff look?

Are they frazzled or friendly and smiling?

5. Check the dining area!

I'm sure you are not surprised that dining is very important to people in any environment. Is it pleasant? How does the menu look? What is their food ordering process?

6. Ask to see their last regulatory "Survey"

This is the annual visit by state regulators. Take it with a grain of salt, however. It's a very subjective process and oftentimes unfair.

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Our senior citizens often live far from family and frequently have difficulty functioning on their own.  It only takes a moment for a medical event to send this situation spiraling out of control.   Even for someone in excellent health, navigating the important health care decisions, the paperwork, and the process can be overwhelming. My many years of experience as part of an administrative team in nursing homes have shown me where seniors and their families struggle with the complexities of a system that baffles everyone!  

After decades in this industry I know there's precious little guidance for the consumer - and mistakes can be costly and sad. I want to stop the suffering.  Let my experience guide you through this minefield with peace of mind and the security that your senior loved-one is being protected.    

Services available:  

  • Consultation in appropriate placement and monitoring (independent living, memory care, assisted living, group home, nursing home) 

  • Assistance with understanding processes & insurance coverages Review of insurance needs

  • Bookkeeping and medical bill management 

  • Non-legal assistance with ALTCS/Medicaid process 

  • Scheduled visits and “check-in” with your loved one and reports back to you 

  • Care Plan Representation

  • Running errands and watching for medication refills A local connection to monitor general well-being of your loved one   

  • Have another service idea? Request it!

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