In the quest for the ideal nursing home for your loved one, it’s crucial to focus on key areas of importance. There are several questions that I hear quite often and I think they could be asked just a little bit differently to get more insightful responses. By crafting the right questions, you can streamline the process and get the information you’re really looking for.
For instance, if you are trying to determine the availability of staff to care for your resident, instead of asking this popular question: “What’s your staff-to-patient ratio?”, try asking: “How many staff members are present during days, evenings, and nights on my mother’s unit?”. In nursing homes, there are three shifts: day shift, evening shift, and night shift. As you can imagine, during the day, when residents are awake, more staff is required to provide care than in the middle of the night when they are sleeping. Understanding the staffing dynamics across different shifts offers a clearer perspective on care provision.
Another vital question related to care is, “How long, on average, does it take for my mother’s call light to be answered?” This is a reasonable question and using this direct approach gets to the heart of responsiveness, providing a more meaningful answer than a generic staff-to-patient ratio.
Another area of importance is dining at the facility. When delving into the dining experience, get specific. During your tour, ask to see the dining room, ask to see the regular menu, and ask about choices. For example, “Is there a daily chef special, and if my loved one prefers something else, can they choose anything they want from the regular menu?”. These specifics offer a better understanding of the options and overall dining experience provided to residents.
It’s also important to learn about activities, recreation, and social opportunities. Go beyond, “Can I see your recreation calendar?”. Ask if the recreation department interviews the resident (and family members) to learn about areas of interest. Do they seek to align offerings with your loved one’s preferences? Rather than trying to fit the resident into the mold of what’s being offered on the calendar, what can the facility offer on an individual basis? Do they consider what she actually wants to do and create special opportunities for her? Here at the Maplewood Nursing Home, we use this type of personalized approach and we find it goes a long way toward enhancing quality of life.
By reshaping your questions in this manner, you’ll gain a clearer insight into how different facilities address crucial aspects of care and quality of life for their residents. This refined approach will help you in determining which Rochester nursing home aligns best with your loved one’s needs and desires.