Every community must have physicians available in an emergency, as well as an advisory physician or committee. Good communities allow residents to be treated by their private physicians. They also require that residents be seen as often as necessary. If a resident will be dependent on the facility’s physician, find out how often the physician visits and how closely they supervise resident care.
The community you choose should have arrangements with other healthcare professionals such as dentists, podiatrists, and optometrists to see that residents get the ancillary medical treatment they need.
A good long-term care community usually has an arrangement with a nearby hospital in case residents become acutely ill. Ask the administrator what arrangements the home has and, in their absence, what is done in case of an emergency.
The competence and attitude of the nursing staff is vital. Registered nurses (RNs) should direct nursing services in skilled nursing homes. An RN may not be on duty during all shifts but must be responsible for the nursing staff. Licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) with at least one year of specialized training should be on duty day and night. Certified nurse aides (CNAs) help with bathing, eating, dressing, and other personal needs. Ask the administrator to explain the CNA training program to you.
Full- or part-time specialists should be available to help residents regain lost abilities, such as walking, talking, and dressing.
Activities can help residents feel right at home. Activities should include trips to community locales and visits to friends and family. Community institutions, such as libraries, should bring their services to the facility. People from the community should be encouraged to volunteer to work or visit with the residents. Residents should be encouraged, but not forced, to participate.
Be sure the home provides on-site services or arrangements for transportation to preferred services.
Good homes have social workers on staff or as consultants to aid residents and their families when they have concerns or problems.
A dietitian should plan balanced, varied, and tasty meals that meet all of a resident’s nutritional needs. Personal likes and dislikes should be considered. Ask to see menus. Good facilities serve meals at normal times, allow plenty of time for leisurely eating, and provide nutritious between-meal and bedtime snacks.
Good communities arrange for barbers and beauticians as needed.