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Multiple Sclerosis and Nursing Home Care

(continued)

What Should I Look for in a Nursing Home?

The following checklist will help you and your loved ones evaluate different nursing homes. Review the checklist before your visit to the facility so that you can ask the necessary questions.

Facility

  • Does the nursing home provide the level of care you need, such as skilled or intermediate care?
  • Does the nursing home meet local and/or state licensing requirements?
  • Does the nursing home's administrator have an up-to-date license?
  • Does the nursing home meet state fire regulations (including a sprinkler system, fire-resistant doors, and a plan for evacuating residents)?
  • What are the visiting hours?
  • What is the policy on insurance and personal property?
  • What is the procedure for responding to a medical emergency?

Admission

  • Is there a waiting period for admittance?
  • What are the admission requirements?

Fees and financing

  • Are fees competitive?
  • Have fees increased significantly in the past few years?
  • Is the fee structure easy to understand?
  • What are the billing, payment, and credit policies?
  • Are there different costs for various levels or categories of services?
  • Are the billing and accounting procedures understandable?
  • Does the nursing home reveal what services are covered in the quoted fee and what services are extra?
  • What governmental financing options are accepted (such as Medicare, Medicaid, Medicare Supplemental Insurance, Supplemental Security Income, and others)?
  • When may a contract be terminated? What is the refund policy?

Needs assessment

  • Is there a written plan for the care of each resident?
  • What is the procedure for assessing a potential resident's need for services? Are those needs reassessed periodically?

Staff

  • Do the nurses, social workers, and administrators have geriatric experience and/or education?
  • Is the staff willing to work with all of your doctors in developing an appropriate plan of care? Often patients entering a nursing home will be assigned to a general doctor who is responsible for their general medical care. It is very important that this doctor work well with the other doctors and specialists involved in your care.
  • Are staff available to meet scheduled and unscheduled needs?
  • Do staff members seem to genuinely enjoy working with the residents?
  • Do staff members treat residents as individuals?
  • Are staff available to assist residents who experience memory, orientation, or judgment losses?
  • Does a doctor or nurse visit the resident regularly to provide medical checkups?

Residents and atmosphere

  • Do residents appear happy and comfortable?
  • Do residents, other visitors, and volunteers speak favorably about the nursing home?
  • Are residents clean and adequately dressed?
  • Are the rights of residents clearly posted?

Facility design

  • Do you like the appearance of the building and its surroundings?
  • Is the decor attractive and home-like?
  • Is the floor plan easy to follow?
  • Do doorways, hallways, and rooms accommodate wheelchairs and walkers?
  • Are elevators available?
  • Are handrails available?
  • Are shelves easy to reach?
  • Are carpets secured and floors made of a non-skid material?
  • Is there good natural and artificial lighting?
  • Is the residence clean, odor free, and appropriately heated/cooled?

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