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AL Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

The 6 Point Nursing Home Checklist You and Your Loved Ones Need

Are you and your loved ones in the process of looking for a skilled nursing home? We know this is a difficult decision. How do you choose the right nursing home? What are the hurdles that you and your loved ones will face? How do you plan ahead so that the needs of your loved ones can be met by the facility, both now and in the future? 

First, you need to know the health care needs of your loved ones.  In fact, keep a list of those needs with you. Because not all facilities provide the same health care, begin by locating a facility that can meet the health care needs of your loved ones. Wondering what the additional factors are that you need to consider? We would like to share our 6 Point Checklist with you. Use this checklist to review and use in your research as you evaluate your selections.

1. Location, levels of care and medication management. The location can matter, especially if your loved ones want to stay in the community where they lived throughout their life. Be sure to ask the facility, if your loved ones decline or improve, can they stay in the facility? By determining this now you can prevent a need for a move later on. Be sure to find out if medication management is part of the services provided by the nursing home or if it is an additional service.  

2. Programs and external and internal communication plans. Be sure to check out the programs the facility offers. You want to be sure there are opportunities for your loved ones to be engaged in activities, celebrations, outings and more. How will the facility let you know what your loved ones need? Will the facility communicate only with you or will they communicate with multiple family members, as well as the agent(s) under the durable powers of attorney of your loved ones? Finally, can the facility make sure that you are able to connect with your loved ones? Will they be able to use FaceTime or Skype or Messenger, or other ways to stay connected? Check to see if the facility has an internet plan to be sure you can connect with your loved ones once they become residents.

3. Check out the state license and disaster management plan. Be sure to ask about and read the state license. Is it up-to-date? Have there been significant issues or challenges? How were they addressed? In addition, every facility you visit should have a plan for how it will manage disasters. Disasters may range from viruses, like Covid-19, to natural disasters to power outages to storms. You should find out what to expect and the facility’s plan for handling these issues before signing a contract.

4. Be sure to read online reviews, ask for opinions of the facility and find out about the staff, turnover rate and health care provider permissions. Before visiting a facility it may be helpful to read online reviews. Once you are at the facility ask residents for their opinions. Ask people in the community who might know the facility and do not forget to ask the doctors of your loved ones. Take the time to learn about the people working in the facility. Do they appear happy? Caring? Busy? Do they interact with the residents? What is staff turnover like? Further, if your loved ones have a current health care provider, ask if he or she will be able to enter into the facility to treat your loved ones.

5.Finances. 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 now if these payment options are accepted.

6.Visits. Be sure to schedule a tour in person so that you can share with your loved ones your impressions. However, you should also consider an unscheduled tour so that you can evaluate the facility without it having time to prepare for your arrival.

This is just the beginning of the investigation that you will want to complete before placing your loved ones in a long-term care facility of any kind. We highly recommend that you discuss your potential choices, as well as your goals, with your Alabama elder law attorney. Your attorney can help assist you in this decision so your loved ones can find and access good long-term care. Do not hesitate to contact us now, or at any time in the future.

At the end of the day, estate planning is not just for you. Instead, it is for the ones you love most. If we can answer any questions for you on putting this estate planning in place, please do not hesitate to let us know. For more information, please reach out to our office and schedule a time to meet.


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