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Steps to Helping a Loved One Adjust to a Nursing Home

stephaniegc_thumbby Stephanie Gile-Contreraz,CSW & Cindy Reading, RN, BSN, ADON at Epione Pavilion

When your loved one comes to need 24-hour skilled nursing care, you’re faced with difficult and stressful decisions. A move to a nursing facility presents a big change in your life, yet it’s an even bigger one in your loved one’s world.

cindyr_thumbGetting a little help with those decisions will help you make the right ones. There are many things to consider when choosing the best options for your family member.

Here are a few tips to get you started in the right direction:

  1. Know your options. Ask people around in the area about nursing homes options and their experiences. Then, set up a meeting with the Social Worker at each of the facilities you are looking into. They can answer questions or concerns prior to admission.
  2. Compare the quality of Care. All facilities are not created equal. Go online to www.medicare.gov/NursingHomeCare to compare nursing homes in your area. This website allows you to pick nursing homes in your area and compare their overall ratings, health inspection results, staffing levels, and qualify measures.
  3. Tour the nursing home. During the tour pay attention to the cleanliness of the facility, the friendliness, and availability of staff, activities that are offered, and meals. Look at room options and know what you can bring in to make the room feel more like home. Talk to staff to get a sense for what they love about their jobs. It’s important that the people caring for your family member enjoy what they do.
  4. Review the financials. Understanding the facility’s costs, what is included in the daily rate, and what your insurance may cover coverage is important to know. It’s also good to provide insurance cards.
  5. Family involvement. Make sure you talk with all family members about concerns or questions with transitioning into a nursing home, so everyone gets a say and everyone’s voice is heard. It is a big decision to make, but it is an easier one when there is a strong support system.

Just like any new transition or experience in life, it can take time to adjust. It’s normal for a transition to a nursing home to take some time for you and your loved ones to feel well adjusted to the change.

When you’re comfortable you’ve found a nursing facility that can meet all of your and your loved one’s needs and desires, prepare to be involved with your loved one’s care and health care decision-making. Have your preferences known by the staff, and participate in activities. You will all adjust, and your loved one will feel more at home if they continue to have a say in their care and activities of daily living.

For help finding the right nursing facility for you or for more information on transitioning into a nursing home, contact Stephanie Gile-Contreraz,CSW, Licensed Social Worker at Epione Pavilion, (608) 744-3958, or visit www.epionepavilion.org.

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