Are you currently researching nursing homes in Rochester, NY? If so, you’re probably finding that we have a lot of options in our community and that long term care facilities in Rochester run the gamut from big multi-location health care systems to small independent nursing homes.
With so many options, how do you choose which one is right for you and your loved one?
There are a number of criteria that you can use to compare long term care facilities. In fact, we have a free guide that you can download and use as you tour prospective homes.
This article focuses on one simple and fool-proof way to evaluate nursing homes. We recommend this approach because it’s an important consideration that is often overlooked and is directly tied to happiness for your loved one and peace of mind for you.
How do we suggest evaluate nursing homes? Simply determine which homes provide care on a human scale.
What is care on a human scale?
So, what exactly does “care on a human scale” mean?
Essentially, care on a human scale is care that is designed, delivered, and contained in ways that are oriented towards an individual as opposed to a population.
This means that a nursing home’s clinical care, nutrition, socialization, residences, amenities, and facility are designed to meet the needs of individual people, rather than caring for the needs of many people.
Hospitals and care
A good example of caring for the needs of many people is the typical hospital. Hospitals are large, multi-story buildings, often impersonal and intimidating. Once inside, they are noisy and confusing. The hallways tend to be cold and littered with medical equipment and complex signage. The food in hospitals is typically made in giant industrial kitchens and then rolled out to patients on large metal racks. We’ve all seen the trays and trays of Jell-O and microwaved veggies.
The clinical care can be less than ideal, too. Constantly rotating staff, chaotic nursing stations, orderlies invading your privacy to mop the floors, and overburdened doctors with just a few minutes to get up to speed on your case all conspire to create a less-than-stellar experience.
Don’t get us wrong. We’re not critical of hospitals. They serve an important function in any community. Our point is that if you take inventory of the care aspects of your typical hospital, it’s hard to ignore that it’s large, impersonal, and even industrial in nature and that staying at a hospital can be a dehumanizing experience.
Simply put, hospitals are designed to meet the needs of a population, rather than the needs of individual people. Parking facilities, noisy hallways, reception, food, billing, and the need to place multiple patients in one room all betray the fact that, try as they might, hospitals can’t deliver care on a human scale.
This may be acceptable for a hospital, as its a temporary provider of health care. Ideally, we’re in and out in just a few days, back home and on the mend. But, it is totally unacceptable when it comes to proving for the long term care needs of your elderly loved one.
Why does it matter?
There are two key reasons why care on a human scale matters.
First, and most important, scale of care is directly related to a resident’s quality of life. People thrive when they have dignity. They are more open to relationships, their health improves, and they experience more fulfillment and happiness. Unlike institutional care which erodes dignity, care designed for individuals nurtures and protects it.
Second, long term care on a human scale is rare. Most nursing homes throughout the US were built on the hospital model. This is because when nursing homes were first being developed hospitals were the most common way communities provided nursing care at the time. Many facilities are working hard to overcome their institutional nature, but it’s a long and slow process.
Your loved one deserves care on a human scale. They should have spacious and private living quarters, fresh, home-cooked meals, engaging space to visit with a loved one over a cup of coffee or a cold beer. The hallway outside their suite should be peaceful and uncluttered. The people caring for them should be regular and respectful.
How to find care on a human scale
There are a lot of nursing homes in Rochester, which means you’ve got a lot of options. But, even with our city’s progressive approach to health care and our leading institutions like the University of Rochester’s medical school, it can be difficult to find the right place for your loved one.
We encourage anyone trying to find a nursing home to tour a number of long term care facilities. It really is the best way to find the right place for you. If you’re looking for a home that values dignity and provides the best life possible for your loved one, we invite you to tour The Maplewood and see for yourself what our version of care on a human scale looks like.