One of the most difficult decisions adults have to make is whether or not to put their parents into a nursing home. On top of that, deciding which nursing home is the best option can be equally grueling. That’s why I created the Nursing Home Peace of Mind Kit, which is designed to help people looking for answers to the most common questions regarding nursing home selection. Putting your parents into a nursing home can be overwhelming. A lot of people have a hard time accepting their parents need extra help that they can’t provide. It can also be difficult to distinguish between a good or bad home; a nursing home can sometimes look and feel like the best choice at a glance but come up short upon closer inspection. A little digging might reveal the nature of the home, but too often people don’t realize a home’s true quality until their parents have been placed there. The Nursing Home Peace of Mind Kit breaks down the choosing process into three vital components: Picking the “right” nursing home for your parent, setting your parent up for success, and handling problems. The first component, picking the “right” home for your parent, requires a great deal of care and scrutiny. You don’t want to pick just any nursing home. It’s important to see what options are available to you and your parent and how to weigh them. The second component, setting your parent up for success, involves learning the roles of nursing staff, and the people who fill them, at the home you’re considering. If you can, sit down with the director of nursing and ask any questions you may have about the home. The third component, handling problems, is all about what happens once your parents are in a home and what to do if problems come up. Even if you follow the first two steps to the letter, there are no guarantees that things will go well. It’s essential to know what to do should a situation arise. Not every situation calls for the help of a lawyer, and you need to know what options you have to work cooperatively with the staff. It is important to understand that a nursing home admission is a very different animal than a hospital admission. Hospital admissions rarely run more than a few days; anything more than a week is really unusual.
Nursing home admissions are rarely shorter than a few weeks and may run for years. Staying on top of things while your parent is in a nursing home is a grind, so you want to take the steps necessary to set yourself up for success from the word “go.” I have been through the process of trying to find a good place for my parents. Over the last 7–8 years, both of my parents have had multiple nursing home stays. There is a place by their home that they like, but that facility has not always had beds available when they needed one, so finding a Plan B, C, etc., has given me some insight into this process that not every lawyer who handles nursing home cases has. I count myself lucky that my parents have always had good experiences with the nursing homes they have been admitted to, but I always keep in mind that bad things happen even in good nursing homes, and I find myself hoping for the best no matter how hard we work to find the “right” nursing home for my parents.
I encourage you to get your own copy of the Nursing Home Peace of Mind Kit if you find yourself in that position.
– Barry G. Doyle
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