9 Key Factors for Choosing the Right Long-Term Care

9 Key Factors for Choosing the Right Long-Term Care

“With the rapid growth in the number of older Americans, an increasing number of families today have a loved one who is in need of long-term care or skilled nursing care,” says Susan Irrgang, Executive Director at Saunders House, located in Wynnewood, PA. 

“But choosing the right long-term care community can be complicated. Many families ask: Where do I begin? What factors should I consider in choosing? How do I know if the long-term care community I choose will be best for my love one?

“The good news is that there are excellent independent resources available that can make choosing the best long-term care community for your loved one much easier.”

A Checklist for Choosing the Right Long-Term Care Provider 

Several of these resources offer helpful checklists and advice for choosing a long-term care provider that fits your loved one’s specific needs. All of them recommend touring the communities you are considering to assess their long-term care services first hand. First impressions count in choosing the right one, and making a personal visit will enable you to assess the general ambiance and cleanliness of the environment, as well as the demeanor of the staff and care of the residents.

The Mayo Clinic article, Long-Term Care: Early Planning Pays Off, as well as two other articles, Long- Term Care Facilities – What to Look For and Choosing Well: Long-Term Care Facilities, provide a

list of criteria and key questions to consider when choosing a long-term care community. These include: 

  1. Does it provide the services needed? Does your loved one need help with everyday activities, such as getting dressed or walking to the bathroom as offered in long-term care? How about skilled nursing care, physical, occupational or speech therapy? Do they require both? Determining specific care needs can help you decide on the ideal community.
  2. Is it close to home? Is it within easy driving distance to your home? Being close to friends and family can ease your loved one’s transition to skilled nursing or long-term care.
  3. Licensure and reputation? If a facility receives Medicare or Medicaid funding, it is inspected periodically by a state surveyor. How well did the community do in its state survey? If it had any deficiencies, have they been rectified? Also, what is its reputation in the area?
  4. Quality of care. Does the community have a Medical Director and a board-certified physician specializing in physical and medical rehabilitation for skilled nursing?  Do they provide 24/7 nursing care and supervision, which includes pain management, medication, and wound care services? Also, are nursing assistants available to help with dressing, grooming, personal hygiene and bathing for long-term care residents? These factors are extremely important when choosing a long-term care community.
  5. Are life enrichment activities emphasized? Ask about the types of activities offered to both skilled nursing and long-term care residents. An effective activity department will interview residents about their personal interests and preferences and offer such recreational options such as music, painting, pet therapy, games, worship services and community outings.
  6. Meals and snacks. Three meals as well as snacks should be provided daily to skilled nursing and long-term care residents. Is the food tasteful and nutritious? Are accommodations made for dietary restrictions and preferences?  Does a dietitian meet individually with each resident to customize a nutritional plan, which focuses on their personal tastes and needs? It is a good idea to visit during mealtime to visit the dining areas and have a meal there.
  7. Is there a home-like environment? In choosing a long-term care provider, you should consider whether private rooms are important and determine whether personal belongings and furnishings may be brought to the community to make the resident's room feel homier. Also, are there inviting places such as recreation areas, lounges and outdoor patios where residents can gather to participate in activities, enjoy one another’s company and be a part of the community?
  8. What about memory care? These days, memory care is an increasingly important factor in choosing long-term care. Is there a safe, separate area for residents with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia? Are staff members specially trained to care for someone with dementia? Is there ongoing staff training about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia?
  9. Can you afford it? Before choosing a community, review the details on prices, fees and services. Know what's included in the monthly fee and what costs extra.

Susan adds, “By following these expert guidelines, you will increase your odds of choosing wisely and selecting a long-term care community that best fits your loved one’s needs and offers you the greatest peace of mind.”

Discover the Area’s Choice for Senior Care

At Saunders House, we continually strive to provide exceptional care and a wellness-focused lifestyle.Our compassionate team of professionals treats each of our long-term residents as part of our family.

Here, we stress the importance of the individual. We understand that each one of our residents has his or her own life story with unique needs and desires, so we deliver comprehensive, individualized care.

We’d Love to Hear Your Thoughts!

If you have comments or questions about our blog on a checklist for touring long-term care communities, we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences with us in our comments section.

We invite you to learn more about senior health and senior care topics by visiting the informative articles and tipson our website.

Discover Our Healthy Tradition of Care and Wellness

Located adjacent to Lankenau Medical Center, Saunders House – part of Main Line Senior Care Alliance – has a celebrated tradition of providing exceptional care and services to seniors and their families. It’s a tradition we’re proud to continue. 

Voted Best of the Main Line in 2016 by loyal readers of the Main Line Times and Main Line Suburban Life, Saunders House offers a range of services – including short-term rehabilitation, traditional nursing care, restorative care, memory care, respite care and specialized care for individuals with visual impairments – all in a setting that is warm, welcoming and nurturing.

For more information on Saunders House, our Short-Term Rehabilitation program and other professional services, please call us today at (610) 658-5100 or contact us online.

Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Saunders House and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.

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