Very often in life, we must do things that we would rather not do, such as helping a loved one move to another nursing home. However, it may be the most caring thing to do when their current nursing home is unable to provide them with the best care and comfort that they need. Your loved one ought to feel safer and happier in a new setting. Also, in this setting they should be able to interact with people of their own age and spend their golden years with dignity and in relative peace. ”When additional and special care is needed, a new skilled nursing home should be chosen with the utmost care and due diligence,” says John E. Kasarda, Administrator at Little Brook Nursing Home in Califon, NJ (Hunterdon County). There are minimally three reasons why you might consider changing to another skilled nursing home. They include:
- Your loved one is not happy
A nursing home is home to the elderly and very ill, one where they hope to live out their remaining days in peace, comfort and safety. Unless they are satisfied with the care they are currently receiving, your loved one is bound to be unhappy. If this is the case, then it is time to think of a change, even though it might be inconvenient or more expensive to move. The idea behind helping your loved one move to another skilled nursing home is to provide them the most comprehensive care and to keep them in relative comfort when you are not able to look after them. So, if they are not satisfied for some reason, speak to their current nursing home’s administrator and then, if the matter remains unresolved, consider a change.
- It is too far to visit more often
You are bound to want to visit your loved one very often. However, if the commute to the current nursing home is too difficult to make, it may prevent you from spending more time with your loved one. “If this is the case and you want to maintain your relationship, you should consider moving them to a skilled nursing home that is closer to you, typically 20 miles, so you and your family can visit more often and stay a bit longer,” says Mr. Kasarda.
- There is evidence of mistreatment or poor care
When you know or even suspect that your loved one is not being treated well or you observe poor care in their current nursing home, it is definitely time for a change. You can complain all you want and hope that they are going to be treated better, but in general, the quality of care received in the short-term is usually indicative of what you can expect in the long-term. “If you want your loved one to be happy and treated with the respect and dignity they deserve during their golden years, it is best to move them to another skilled nursing home when you know they are not being given the comprehensive care they need,” says Mr. Kasarda.
Changing to a new skilled nursing home is not easy, especially as it involves a significant amount of time and due diligence. But when it comes to ensuring the peace, comfort and safety of your loved one, you should do as is necessary. It’s recommended that you take the time to visit at least three skilled nursing homes—both planned and by surprise—to make an informed decision. And ask or observe the following:
- Skilled Staff: Do they have the certified staff to provide the daily care required? Is the staff responsive and caring?
- Referrals: Talk to other residents’ family members if they are present as another referral source. What do they like and dislike?
- Cleanliness: Go and observe residents in the nursing home. Are they clean and dressed nicely? Does the facility smell pleasant?
- Food: Does the food look appetizing? Would you eat the meal?
- Activities: Are daily activities mentally stimulating and geared to help residents recall memories?
- Environment: Find out if the environment is conducive to your loved one’s needs, safety, health and comfort levels.
- Facility: Is the nursing home a single story building and easy to traverse for mobile residents?
- Location: Is the nursing home peaceful and far from the noise, commotion and pollution of busy roadways?
For a complete list of questions go to the following website:
A senior’s golden years should be about living in peace, happiness, dignity, comfort, safety and good health. Your loved one deserves excellent and comprehensive high skilled nursing care! Mr. Kasarda suggests that you “ask friends, parishioners, doctors and neighbors for referrals if they have had good experiences elsewhere and visit these skilled nursing homes as soon as possible and make that change!”
Editor: Dr. JP Hampilos of Senior Care Focus, LBHI; Excerpts from an interview with John E. Kasarda, Administrator, Little Brook Nursing and Convalescent Home in Califon, NJ (Hunterdon County).
Senior Care Focus, Issue No. 16.1