In an earlier post, we discussed a few things to look for when touring a potential long-term care facility for your elderly loved one. Making the decision to place your loved one in such a facility can be difficult, and finding the right facility can be a long, complicated process amid the greater process of estate planning. You can make this process easier for yourself and your loved one by knowing what to look for in the facilities you visit.
After determining the “big” issues, like safety, level of care provided, and affordability of a prospective nursing home, pay attention to some of the seemingly smaller details like the food quality, the social and professional atmosphere of the facility, the activities provided for its residents, and how well the facility is kept up. These are the issues that your loved one will face on a daily basis when residing in the facility, so it is important that he or she moves into an atmosphere where he or she will be comfortable, happy, and well cared-for.
This is the food your loved one will be eating on a daily basis, possibly for the rest of his or her life. Look over the weekly or monthly menu and take note of the variety of the food served. Find out if there is a nutritionist on staff and whether the food served provides all the necessary nutrients.
What Do the Residents Do?
How do the residents spend their time? Find out about the activities provided. Are they mentally stimulating and varied?
Is it Clean?
This is one of the most important issues to determine. A facility should be cleaned regularly and free of health hazards. Ask whether the facility has ever had issues with mold, which can be fairly common in older buildings. Ask about any smells you observe. Sometimes, an off-putting odor can be attributed to the medications in use rather than an unclean facility. Speak with a representative of the facility about how often it is cleaned and the methods used to clean residents’ rooms and common areas.
What is the Staff Like?
If staff members seem to be overworked, in short supply, willing to cut corners, or simply seem to have negative attitudes about their work, do not put your loved one in that facility. Staff members who cannot or do not care to do their job properly will not provide optimal care for your loved one. Stop by for a visit on the weekend or during the evening hours if possible to observe how staff behaves during the “off” hours.
Work With a La Crosse Estate Planning Lawyer
Planning for your own long-term care or carrying out the wishes of a loved one is an important part of estate planning. If you are currently working through either of these processes, work with an experienced La Crosse estate planning lawyer to ensure that you fully understand all that you are facing from a legal perspective. Discuss your plans with our team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd.