Sometimes unexpected circumstances, distance or a lack of resources can escalate a situation to one of immediate need or crisis proportions. A hospital may catch you off guard with plans of a discharge. Regardless of cause, you’ve got to find a care solution fast. Personal obligations or out-of-town coordination further complicate the situation.
Fortunately, there are always care options available, even when time isn’t. Breaking the decision down into three steps will make it more manageable. Relying on professionals who can help will provide greater peace of mind. Talk out your decision with others; ask for help from professionals; and stay focused on the goal of finding the best option for care.
If you can, be cautious of using free Skilled Nursing Care placement services. While the service is free to you, it can be expensive in the long run. Care centers reimburse placement specialists for placing residents within their centers. This compensation system creates a conflict of interest. You want to be sure your care decision is based on careful consideration, not commission.
Give yourself one night to sleep on your decision. Once you have made your care choice, learn more about what to expect during the transition.
A Three-Step Decision
Trying to find a Skilled Nursing Care center as the clock races can make you feel overwhelmed or even paralyzed. You must keep moving. Take a deep breath, and break down your decision into three smaller steps:
Step 1: Research
Ask family and friends to recommend caregivers or centers. Find and compare Skilled Nursing Care Centers online with Medicare's “Nursing Care Compare,” a rating site for Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes, professionally called Skilled Nursing Care centers. Medicare has developed a five-star quality rating system based on health inspection results, care center staff data, quality measures, and fire safety inspection results. Though there is plentiful information you can find, relying on ratings alone is not sufficient enough to make a decision.
Step 2: Consider
Based on your research, choose about three centers to visit. Call each to schedule a tour. Communicate the immediacy of your situation and ask to speak with an admissions director. The admissions director will tell you more about the center and availability. Only visit centers that you know have available accommodations. Prepare for your center visits with information in our How to Choose section.
Step 3: Select
After visiting nursing homes, professionally known as Skilled Nursing Care centers, select the center that best meets your care needs. As you weigh your options, use the tools in the How to Choose section.
Professionals who can help
Keep in mind there are care professionals who can help you. For information, advice and personalized assistance, you can turn to a geriatric care manager, health care provider, employee assistance program administrator or senior move manager.
Geriatric Care Manager
Because a timely, good decision is critical, you may want to hire a geriatric care manager. A geriatric care manager, social worker or registered nurse in private practice will be familiar with Skilled Nursing Care centers in the community. The geriatric care manager can assess your care needs, make appropriate referrals and accompany you on center visits. The care manager also can talk through a decision with you and monitor your loved one if distance requires it. To find a care manager, visit the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM).
Health Care Provider
You can contact your or your loved one's physician for recommendations or local/national referrals for care providers or centers.
Employee Assistance Program Administrator
Some employers offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or Work/Life benefit. Through an EAP or Work/Life benefit, you can speak with an eldercare specialist who can help research options. EAPs and Work/Life benefit companies have staff available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Because your employer pays for the benefit, you will not be charged to use the service. Contact your human resources department or employer for more information.
Senior Move Manager
Senior move management companies help aging adults downsize and move to apartments, retirement communities and long term care facilities. Senior move managers can help you pack and move your loved one to a facility or center. They can also coordinate donation, sale or removal of furniture and possessions that are no longer needed. To find a senior move management company, visit the National Association of Senior Move Managers.