Those looking into skilled nursing homes, whether to address their own needs or those of a loved one, may find it difficult to figure out where to start discerning what might make one facility better than another. You may benefit, however, from taking the time to learn about these four aspects of a location that provides skilled care.
One part of the process that can seem frustrating is the lack of a single ratings database for all companies in the business. There isn't a Yelp for the nursing home industry. Instead, each state compiles ratings that function on a slew of different criteria and scales. Folks looking into skilled nursing homes need to do some digging in order to get to the state-level data, and even then it's a good idea to follow up with internet research and in-person tours.
You want to be sure that the qualifications of the staff members providing care meet your needs. Most places that bill themselves as skilled nursing homes have 24-hour care, but what exactly that entails varies. Is the most skilled professional available at all times going to be a doctor, an RN, an LPN, or a CNA? You want to know that if an event occurs at the worst possible time that a fully capable response will be available. Do not hesitate to look up licenses of key personnel.
It's also prudent to inquire about available equipment. Does a home have, for example, crash carts for treating sudden cardiac episodes? Even if a location is fully equipped, you should ask about maintenance records, too.
Skilled nursing care is often only covered by certain insurances or Medicare for a limited period. You should try to get some notion of how long a stay will be covered before committing to a location. Even those who believe they have a good reserve of savings may be surprised by how much long-term, skilled care costs.
It's a good idea to talk with the operators of a facility about the types of skilled nursing they offer. Many organizations focus on providing specific types of care, such as dementia or cancer care. If you're dealing with a situation such as the aftermath of a stroke, the availability of rehabilitative care may make a major difference in quality of life. There are also places that specialize in working with residents who have terminal illnesses.