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Multiple Sclerosis and Nursing Home Care

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What Should I Look for in a Nursing Home?

When you’re researching and visiting one, take this checklist with you. It can help you and your loved ones remember some important questions to ask the staff -- and yourself.

Facility

  • Does the nursing home offer the level of care you need, such as skilled care?
  • Does it meet local or state licensing requirements? Does the administrator have an up-to-date license?
  • What are the visiting hours?
  • What’s the policy on insurance and personal property?
  • How does the staff respond to a medical emergency?

Admission and Assessment

  • Is there a waiting period to get in?
  • What are the admission requirements?
  • Is there a written care plan for each resident?
  • How does the staff decide the kind of care a resident needs? How often do they assess residents?

Fees and Financing

  • Have fees gone up a lot 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 different levels or types of service?
  • What services are covered in the quoted fee, and what services are extra?
  • What financing options does the center accept (such as Medicare, Medicaid, Medicare Supplemental Insurance, Supplemental Security Income, and others)?
  • When can the facility terminate a contract? What’s the refund policy?

Staff

  • Do the nurses, social workers, and administrators have experience working with people with MS?
  • Is the staff willing to work with all of your doctors to make a plan for your care? Often nursing homes assign people to a general doctor who is responsible for their medical care. It’s very important for him to work well with the rest of your care team.
  • Are staff members available to meet scheduled and unscheduled needs?
  • Do staff members seem to enjoy working with the residents?
  • Do they treat residents as individuals? Do they call them by their first names?
  • Are there people to help residents who have trouble with memory, confusion, or judgment?

Atmosphere

  • Do residents seem happy and comfortable? Are they clean and dressed well?
  • What do residents, other visitors, and volunteers say about the nursing home?
  • Are the rights of residents clearly posted?

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