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Multiple Sclerosis and Nursing Home Care

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What Should I Look for in a Nursing Home? continued...

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?

Medication and health care

  • What is the policy regarding storage of medication and assistance with medication?
  • Is self-administration of medication allowed?
  • Who coordinates visits from a physical, occupational, or speech therapist if needed?

Services

Is staff available to provide 24-hour assistance with activities of daily living, if needed? Daily living activities include:

  • Dressing
  • Eating
  • Mobility
  • Hygiene and grooming
  • Bathing and toileting
  • Using the telephone

Room features

  • Are rooms for single and double occupancy available?
  • Is a 24-hour emergency response system accessible from the room?
  • Are bathrooms private? Do they accommodate wheelchairs and walkers?
  • Can residents bring their own furnishings? What may they bring?
  • Do all rooms have a telephone? How is billing handled for long-distance calls?

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