“Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else does and thinking something different.”
– Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
Wow, these last few weeks have been so jammed that these newsletters are going out later and later. Sorry about that. We’ll get back on track for the next one. I’m about to head to ANOTHER hockey game! This time with my second oldest daughter. She missed out on the first one because she had a girl scout event, so she is really looking forward to this one. (She really hopes she’ll see that monkey chasing the gorilla….) What’s more fun for me is that I’ll get a chance to spend some one on one time with her. As the middle child, she may not get as much one on one time as the others, so Wendy and I really try to be sure we make sure she gets that.
Well, last week, we talked about nursing home placement, and I’ve heard from quite a few friends and clients who passed it along to *their* friends and family for whom (I hope) it’s especially useful.
As you probably have gathered, I write you these weekly notes because I sincerely desire to offer my experience and expertise to the family issues that too often become rushed in the midst of a crisis. I read every response, and I’m so grateful to be connected to a group of families who are so committed to one another, and so responsive. Keep ’em coming…
And, of course, I’m always grateful for your referrals–they’re the lifeblood of our firm. While many lawyers spend an arm and a leg for expensive yellow page advertisements, we’ve found that our BEST advertising is the relationships we maintain with our clients and friends. No, I’m not averse to advertising our services–it’s simply that friends who are referred by our clients turn out to be our best kind of clients.
So, thanks for your continued referrals!
This week, I’m continuing the series started last week, and will give you some thoughts on what to look for when you check out a nursing home facility in person…
“Straight Talk” Personal Strategy
Making Nursing Home Placements That Work (Part 2)
So you’ve narrowed down your list, and it’s time to take a closer look at the options.
Good news: you don’t need to schedule your visits in advance. If you show up during regular business hours, you should be able to meet with an administrative staff member, who should be able to answer all your questions. But you may also want to set aside time to tour a second time (in the evening or on the weekend), simply to see if there is a drastic difference in the atmosphere of the facility or the care being provided.
Lastly, it is very important to tour at least two facilities so you can see the difference in the physical facility and the staff.
While you are touring the facility, pay attention to your gut feelings. Ask yourself:
• Do they seem to genuinely care for the residents?
• Is the facility clean?
• Are there any strong odors?
• Is the staff friendly?
• Do I feel welcome?
• How long did I have to wait to meet with someone?
• Did the admissions director ask about my family member’s wants and needs?
• Do the staff seem to get along with each other?
Put on your radar, and listen and observe. You want to be sure that the facility is giving proactive care, not just reacting to crisis.
And you’ll want to be armed with some questions, so here are a few examples of the types of questions the staff should be able to answer:
• How do you ensure that call lights are answered promptly, regardless of your staffing?
• If my father is not able to move or turn himself, how do you ensure that he is turned and does not develop bedsores?
• How do you make sure that someone is assisted with the activities of daily living like dressing, toileting and transferring?
• Can residents bring in their own supplies?
• Can residents use any pharmacy they wish?
• How many direct care staff members do you have on each shift? Does this number exceed the minimal number that state regulations require, or do you just meet the minimum standard?
• What sources of payment do you accept?
• How long has the medical director been with your facility?
• What is your policy on family care planning conferences? Will you adjust your schedule to make sure that I can attend the meeting?
While touring each facility, make notes and
Don’t Neglect Expert Help.
In addition to finding the facility you like best, don’t forget that you need expert legal assistance as part of the planning process. Without proper planning and legal advice from an experienced firm, many families needlessly squander their life savings on long-term care, and unnecessarily jeopardize their own care and well-being, as well as the security of their family.
If we’re able to help you with this process–great. If not, we’re happy to point you in the right direction, to ensure you’ve got an experienced advocate working on your behalf.
That’s what we do.
To your family’s wealth, health, and happiness!