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How To Choose a Long-Term Care Facility

Choosing the right long-term care facility is a huge task that should be made with love, care, and deliberation. Moving a loved one into a home is never an easy decision, but once you decide to seek professional care, the first and most important step is to understand the type of services you and your loved ones will need. Let’s go over a few ideas to think about when choosing a long-term care facility.

Make an appointment for your first visit only

The first step in selecting long-term care is to make an appoint to tour a few facilities. This process may be hit and miss, but the key is to visit as many places as possible. Once you have narrowed down the candidates, pop in for an unannounced visit at least twice thereafter. Any facility can look great during a scheduled visit, but potential clients need to see what the day-to-day atmosphere is like. The best time to make an unannounced visit is around mealtimes so that you can observe how meals are prepared and served.

Speak with some of the residents without staff present

Getting an honest review from other residents is one of the most important steps a person can make when choosing a long-term care facility. Take the time to speak with residents, ask how they enjoy living in the facility and try to get a feel for the type of care that is provided. When you visit a home, it can be easy to get distracted by how neat and clean the home looks, yet the quality of care a resident receives goes far beyond the decor and cleanliness of a facility.

Observe how the residents and staff interact

The way in which nursing home staff members treat residents may be the most important indicator of the quality of life they will experience. Knowing what to look for from nursing home staff members, however, can be difficult. Potential clients should notice that interaction by observing the residents themselves. Are they silent and withdrawn? Do they seem sad or depressed? Are the residents being treated like children rather than adults? These factors can be subtle and even difficult to point out, but they can be a larger indicator of a facility that does not understand the psycho-social needs of their residents.

Read over the rental contract or patient agreement form

Before you decide on a facility for a loved one be sure to read over the rental contract and understand it completely. Take the document home, ask questions, find out what items are not covered in the contract, and figure out any extra costs that may be associated with the care. Make sure that you have all the costs and rates for extras in writing, and do not forget to ask about the terms of terminating the contract.

Observe and sample meals

Food is one of the simple pleasures if life that we can all enjoy. When you are on a facility visit, be sure to sample the meals and make sure they are not tasteless and bland. Finding a home that provides a high quality of life is essential to receiving the proper care, and food plays a huge role in that process. Many facilities will offer sample meals during the visit, but if they do not, ask if you can have a meal with the residents.

Ask to see the latest state licensing inspection survey

Every long-term care facility is surveyed by state licensing on a yearly basis, and the results should be posted in a public area near an entrance of the facility. If you do not find one posted, ask someone at the front desk for a copy of the document or to show you where it is located. All nursing homes will have some violations, and a survey that is 10 pages or less with minor issues is typically considered a good home. However, be wary of surveys with 20 to 40 pages and many patient care problems and deficiencies.  

Ask to speak to the Director of Nurses

Speaking with the Director of Nurses will give you a better idea of the type of care provided and overall philosophy of a facility. The D.O.N is typically the heart of a home and will set the standard for the type of care that is given to patients. A D.O.N who is invested in the work being done will usually preside over an excellent facility. However, if you find a situation with a high D.O.N turnover rate, you might find a facility with issues and problems providing care for its patients.


Serving Our Community Since 1995

Elder Law Services of California, APLC provides the same strategic planning and legal representative of larger firms, yet in a personalized, family-like manner. Our priority is to provide the highest level of legal services and client satisfaction when representing your Medi-Cal Planning, Estate Planning, Trust Administration, or Probate cases. Above all, we understand the importance of you and your family’s financial future and legal security.

Our team of Attorneys and legal support staff have assisted thousands of different families by giving them the freedom to plan for the security of their future, while also providing peace of mind with our experienced legal advice. As our name, Elder Law Services of California, APLC serves all families in California, with convenient locations throughout Los Angeles, as well as locations in Northern California, and San Diego.

Whether you need to qualify for Medi-Cal, pay for long-term care, create an estate plan and powers of attorney, proceed a conservatorship, protect your assets, or deal with the loss of a loved one, our team is there for you every step of the way. Sadly, many families are unprepared for any significant planning for their future, so take the first step today to protect your family’s integrity.

Elder Law Services  of California, APLC.
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