Thursday, 14 August 2014

What to Look for in a Nursing Home for Your Ageing Parents

Guest Post by Juliet Martin

When your parents get to an age that you believe they would be better off living away from their (or your) home in order to receive the care they need, when they need it, you’ll find many nursing homes available to you, but the question is; what should you look for when comparing these homes between one another?

It goes without saying that you want the best possible care for your parents. Price is, of course, always a consideration, but in general so long as the fees for any particular nursing home seem fair and relative compared to what your parents will get in return, you should put price out of your mind for a moment so you can concentrate on the features of any one nursing home in order to make your comparisons between them that much easier.



To help you get started, below we’ve detailed five of the key areas you should explore when looking up homes online, and eventually visiting them in person. Some of the points below may be more important to you than others, but in general the home you end up choosing should incorporate all of these points to some degree.

1) Person-Centred Care

Person-centred care is a type of care-giving that, according to The Health Foundation, “sees patients as equal partners in planning, developing and assessing care to make sure it is most appropriate for their needs.” Any nursing home you choose for your parents must put them, and you, at the very heart of all matters regarding their personal care; with your parents being treated as individuals, rather than simply residents.

Regardless of any illnesses your parents may have, if a nursing home practices person-centred care they will treat your parents as adults at all times, on an equal footing to themselves, and you.

2) Clear Preventative Safety-Measures

Safety prevention covers a wide spectrum and can include anything from the quality of the food your parents will be fed at their nursing home to their ability to easily access exercise equipment and join in on recreational activities (see point five) at their home.

Other preventative safety-measures you should look out for when visiting different homes is whether there are…

-        handrails along the walls,
-        wheelchair-accessible doorways around the home,
-        tidy floors, dry and free of litter,
-        fire extinguishers throughout the facility,
-        call buttons in the apartments and throughout the facility,
-        adequate heating and air conditioning systems.

3) Happy, Helpful Staff

It’s been said many times that people who are happy in their work are, unsurprisingly, better at their job and put more time and effort into their job. This is exactly what you want from the members of staff who work at a nursing home that your parents may eventually live in.

When you’re visiting different homes you should pay close attention to the staff, both when they’re talking to you and when they’re speaking with individual residents, unaware that you’re watching. Ask yourself:

-        Do they seem to genuinely care about and respect each resident they interact with?
-        Do they answer your questions honestly and in depth?
-        Is there a generally pleasant atmosphere about the home?

4) How Homely it Feels

This point seems so obvious that it often slips people’s minds when looking around potential homes for their parents.

As your parents will be living there full time, any nursing home they end up moving into has to have a homely feel about it, meaning it’s decorated in a fashion that they would like (and maybe even have in their current home), and it has all the standard homely pieces of furniture, such as armchairs, sofas, and coffee tables, dotted around the facility and in the individual apartments.

5) Wide-Ranging Recreational Activities

Despite their advancing years, your parents can and will enjoy being at a nursing home more when they have a wide-range of recreational activities available to them. These can include sporting activities, social activities, and (of course) therapeutic activities.

When visiting a number of homes ask the staff outright what activities they’re currently providing to their residents, and at what frequency. Popular activities may include:

-        swimming,
-        gym (available consistently),
-        weekly religious services for a wide range of religions,
-        quiz nights,
-        visiting entertainment, such as a musical performer or speaker,
-        speech, physical, and occupational services,
-        day trips to nearby (and sometimes, far away) towns and cities.

In conclusion, when it comes time for you to start looking into moving your parents to a nursing home you should make a point of doing your research online, first of all, before visiting some of your favourite shortlisted homes to see if they provide person-centred care, they have preventative safety-measures in place, the staff are happy and helpful, there’s a homely feel to the place, and a wide range of recreational activities are available.

Author Bio:

Juliet Martin a freelance writer for Ashton Grange Nursing Home in the UK, one of the most reliable providers of caregiver services in the country. They aim to deliver their philosophy of care through programmes of activities designed to encourage better health in the elderly.
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