We know there may be nothing more difficult than deciding to move a loved one into a long-term care facility. How do you choose the right one? What challenges will you face? How do you plan forward to ensure that your loved one’s needs, both now and in the future, can be met by the facility?
While you need a facility that can meet the health care needs of your loved one, this is only the starting place in your evaluation. There are additional factors to consider that you may not have discovered yet. As always, our goal is to serve as a trusted resource for you. Let us share our 13 Point Checklist you may review and use in your research as you evaluate your selections.
1. The health care services offered by the facility. Not all long-term care facilities provide the same health care services. Start by determining what health care services your loved one needs. Use this list as your first checkpoint to determine if the facility could be a fit for your loved one.
2. Location. The location can matter, especially if your loved one plans to stay in the community where he or she lived throughout his or her life.
3. Additional levels of care. If your loved one declines or improves, can he or she stay in the facility? Determining this early can prevent a need for a move later on.
4. Medication management. While most skilled nursing homes include this service, other long-term care facilities may not. Ask if medication management is included or if it is an additional service.
5. Program and engagement. Loneliness and isolation are a leading cause of death for Older Americans. Check in on the facility services to make sure there are opportunities for your loved one to be engaged.
6. External communication plan. How will the facility keep you in the loop on what your loved one needs? Will it just be you or can the facility communicate with multiple family members, as well as the agent under your loved one’s durable power of attorney.
7. Internal communication plan. Can the facility make sure that you are able to connect with your loved one? From FaceTime to Skype to Messenger, there are more ways to be connected than ever before. Check to see if the facility has the plan to ensure you can connect with your loved one once he or she becomes a resident.
8. State licensing. Complete your due diligence and look into the facility’s licensing. Is it up-to-date? Have there been significant issues? How were they addressed if there were challenges?
9. Covid-19 updates and disaster management. Every facility you tour should have a plan for how it will manage disasters. From viruses to natural disasters to power outages, you want to discuss what to expect and the facility’s plan for handling these issues before signing the contract.
10. Read reviews and ask for opinions. It can be extremely helpful to read reviews online before you visit and ask residents of their opinions while you are onsite. What is your opinion after these conversations?
11.Staffing, turnover, and health care provider permissions. Take the time to learn about the people operating in the facility. Do they appear happy? Invested? Busy? What is staff turnover like? Further, if your loved one has a current health care provider, ask if he or she will be able to enter into the facility to treat your loved one.
12.Financial assistance. What programs does the facility accept? There are programs such as Medicaid and long-term care insurance that can help offset the high cost of care. Ask early on in your evaluation process if these payment options are accepted.
13. Onsite evaluation. Your personal opinion of this facility matters. While you may want to schedule a tour, also consider an unscheduled tour so that you can evaluate the facility without it having time to prepare for your arrival.
This is just a start of the investigation you want to complete before placing your loved one in a long-term care facility of any kind. Know that, at the end of the day, we encourage you to discuss your potential choices as well as your goals with your elder law attorney. Your attorney can help guide you in this decision so your loved one can find and access good long-term care. Do not hesitate to contact us now, or at any time in the future.