Tips On Looking For A Nursing Home

 

DR ELIZABETH CHONG


Looking for a nursing home? As life expectancy is rising, many would need assistance as they age. Nursing homes may be an option when the older adult is no longer able to manage independently and there is no full time caregiver at home.

Nursing home

Unfortunately, there are just too many variables in choosing a nursing home. The services offered by nursing homes in Malaysia are diverse. There are no standardized regulations required by the government, as well as categorization according to care provision. In addition, one nursing home may be seen as heavenly for one individual but unpleasant for another.

There are a few standards of care that one should look at as a basic requirement for a safe and pleasant stay. Here are some tips on how to look for a nursing home:

Environment

Good hygiene: Walk around the home without shoes, touch the surrounding furniture, look at the patients’/staffs’ clothing

Not crowded: A wheelchair should be easily manouvered around the home.

Not noisy: Ideally, not on a main street/above noisy shop lots.

Brightly lit: Visit in the evening.

Clean and safe bathrooms: Beware, a lot of homes actually do not allow mobilizing patients to use toilets but insist on the use of diapers-which should not be encouraged. Bathrooms should be fitted with grab bars and not wet.

Management

Neat and organised: The home should not be chaotic or disorganised. Beware that some homes care for residents with mental illness that may have disruptive behaviours.

Social well being: If your family member is able to converse, look out for a home where there are residents that could communicate. Chat with a few residents and watch their response to see if they are happy there.

Staff

Adequacy: A ratio of at least 1 to 8 for a mixture of mobilising and bedbound residents should be a minimal requirement-also check how many staff are on at night shift

Trained nurse in-charge: Ensure a trained nurse is available if your family member has complex medical illnesses requiring multiple medical treatment and assistance like tube feeding, wound dressing, catheter care, insulin injections

Attitude: Best time to visit is during their meal times: watch out for their mannerism-are they rushed? Was there eye contact?

Nutrition

Adequacy: Make sure the amount is adequate as in smaller meals and more frequent-the elderly have small appetites, accessibility to food, staff giving assistance on feeding.

Balanced: Ensure a balance amount of carbohydrate, protein and fiber is served.

Consistency: Many homes just provide porridge for the ease of standardizing meals for every resident-make sure you know what consistency is suitable for your family member and request for such.

Additional services

Medical services (Doctor): Advisable if your family member has complex care needs.

Physiotherapy/Occupational therapy: May be required for patients post discharge from hospital (eg. after stroke, orthopaedic surgery etc.)

Hospital follow-ups: Some homes provide a staff to take their residents to follow up.

Transportation services: If patient requires frequent hospital visits for follow up.

Equipment: Check if they have equipments that may be required by your family member eg. hospital bed, pressure relieving mattress, wheelchair, commode, oxygen, suction machine is available and if an extra cost is incurred.

 


When you visit a home

Before you go, call and make an appointment to meet with the staff. You are also encouraged to visit the homes at other times without an appointment. If the nursing home does not allow you to drop in, this is an issue to reconsider before you make a final decision.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask the staff to explain anything you see and hear that you don’t understand.

If you are planning to visit frequently, make sure the home is near to your home or office and there is easy parking.

Always be polite to the staff at the home if you want things done for your family member. Nothing can be worse than a grumpy resident or family member. Compliment for a job well done should be encouraged so that complaints would be taken in better in the future.

Speak to other residents when you are visiting your own relative, so that they will look out for your relative when you are not around.

There are a lot of hidden fees. Make sure you list out other cost involved before you sign on the dotted lines. (watch out for the small prints).

Most important of all, DO NOT RUSH when you are looking for a home. You are bound to make an irrational decision.

If possible, don’t go alone, bring along another family member or friend. Look around and ask about for one suitable for your family member.

nursing home list

 


NURSING HOME CHECKLIST

Name of nursing home:
Address :
Phone     :

Basic information

Yes

No

Notes

Does the nursing home have the level of care I need?

 

 

 

Does the nursing home have a bed available?

 

 

 

Does the nursing home offer specialized services, like special care for residents with dementia and rehabilitation?

 

 

 

Is the nursing home located close enough for friends and family to visit?

 

 

 

Environment

Yes

No

Notes

Is the nursing home free from unpleasant odours?

 

 

 

Does the nursing home appear clean?

 

 

 

Does the nursing home have good lighting?

 

 

 

Are there quiet areas where residents can visit with family and friends?

 

 

 

Are all areas designed for wheelchair use?

 

 

 

Are there handrails and grab bars in the bathrooms?

 

 

 

Are the residents clean, well groomed and appropriately dressed for the time of the day?

 

 

 

Staff

Yes

No

Notes

Does the relationship between the staff and residents appear to be warm, polite and respectful?

 

 

 

Is there a registered nurse on duty 24 hours a day?

 

 

 

Will the staff call the doctor if there is medical need?

 

 

 

Is there a doctor in charge of the nursing home?

 

 

 

Do the residents have the same caregiver on a daily basis?

 

 

 

What is the patient to staff ratio?

 

 

 

Activities

Yes

No

Notes

Are there regular activities for the residents?

 

 

 

Are there regular exercise regimen?

 

 

 

Services

Yes

No

Notes

Is transportation available, so that resident could attend their appointment at the hospital?

 

 

 

Is physiotherapy available?

 

 

 

 

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