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10 Tips for choosing a Skilled Nursing Facility for Long Term Care

January 4, 2011

An estimated 12 million Americans need long term care to assist them with daily activities. For some of those people, the idea of relocating to a skilled nursing facility or nursing home can be intimidating and uncomfortable.

One way to calm those feelings of apprehension is being informed, and there are a number of factors to consider when choosing a place for you or your loved one. Concordia Vice President of Skilled Nursing and Rehab Charlene Kline, with over 20 years experience in senior care, offered the following factors to consider when visiting a facility.

  1. Are the residents/patients clean and dressed appropriately?
  2. Does the building have a neutral or pleasant smell?
  3. Is the temperature comfortable? The lighting?
  4. Does the staff interact with residents/patiently in a friendly manner?
  5. Does all staff go through background checks prior to employment?
  6. Are the residents/patients rooms clean? Have storage? Have a window?
  7. Are there handrails in the hallways? Smoke detectors and sprinklers?
  8. Are there several food choices available at each meal? Snacks available?
  9. Does the activities staff provide a variety of activities? Indoor and outdoor?
  10. Has the facility had deficiencies at state and federal inspections? If so, was corrective action taken? (keep reading for how to find out)

On the Medicare website there is a section where you can compare Nursing Homes based on a star rating system that looks at the facility's health inspections, staffing and quality measures (i.e. the prevalence of pressure sores). While this tool is helpful, it is essential that you visit and ASK QUESTIONS before making a decision on where to receive long term care.

"Concordia tends to go above and beyond in terms of quality, cleanliness and constantly improving resident life, but unfortunately that's not the case everywhere," Kline said. "Dig deep, talk to the administrators and don't be afraid to ask the difficult questions this is where you or a loved one will be cared for, so don't hold back."

One other thing she mentioned is the importance of longevity. When looking into an organization, take into consideration how long they've been in business, and whether it is a non-or for-profit company.

For more tips on choosing a nursing home, click here to download a .PDF of Medicare's Nursing Home Checklist. For more on Concordia's three skilled nursing facilities in western Pennsylvania, click here to visit our website.

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To contact an admissions counselor at one of our locations, visit the Contact Us page on the Concordia website, e-mail here or call toll free at 1.888.352.1571.

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