It is preferable to begin the admissions process prior to actual need of a geriatric facility. This is not as odd as it might sound. Many geriatric care facilities have waiting lists and your loved one’s name can be added to that list. He/she would then have an improved chance for admission in time of need. It is easier to take one’s time, to meet with the admissions’ staff more than once if need be. The more groundwork that has been laid, the greater opportunity to focus on helping the loved one make the transition to the geriatric facility.
After determining the cost per day/month, the following items are important to consider when interviewing admissions’ staff:
- What agencies inspect the geriatric facility and what ratings have been given to it?
- If your family member has long term care insurance, does the facility accept it and what does it cover?
- How many Medicaid beds does it have and if appropriate, what are the eligibility requirements?
- Does your loved one’s primary care physician make visits to the facility? If not, ask for a list of physician who do.
- Who is the Medical Director?
- What other medical professionals make visits there, ie.podiatrists, dentists, etc.? if your family member wears glasses, does an optometrist make visits for such repairs?
- Is there a continuum of care available in case her status worsens?
- If she falls and breaks a hip, for example, are there Medicare beds available? If so, is rehab therapy available?
- If your family member will be in assisted living, does the facility provide temporary nursing care if needed in times of illness? If so, what is the cost?
- Is transportation provided for trips outside the facility and how is it coordinated?
- How is medication ordered? Is there a choice of pharmacy?
Quality of Life
- Ask to see a menu cycle. How are special diets and likes and dislikes addressed? Where do the residents eat? If assistance is needed with feeding, how is that handled?
- Is there flexibility in the bathing schedule, ie. If your family member prefers an evening bath?
- What services other than nursing are available? This includes meeting spiritual needs and activities in general. Ask to see the calendar of events. Ask about staffing, ie. Is there are social worker, how many activity aids are there, etc.
- If your family member is confused, how is that addressed?
- If a resident requires assistance in getting to an activity or to meals, what assistance is offered? Some facilities have volunteers who transport residents.
- Is there a beauty parlor in house?
- Are there laundry services available? Are clothes to be labeled so as to avoid loss?
- What support services are available to families?
- What is the chain of command within the facility for reporting problems? Is there a designated advocate on staff?
- If a problem cannot be resolved, then what is the next step?
During the admissions process, it is crucial to give an accurate assessment of your family member. She is either appropriate for admission to the facility or not, and if not, it is best that she not move into it. Although it might be difficult to describe her weaknesses, you will be increasing the chances for the staff to assist your loved one adjust if they are aware of both her strengths and weaknesses.
Other questions will come to mind during your meeting. There is no such thing as an unnecessary question. A responsible geriatric facility will wish to give you as complete a picture as possible.