How to Choose the Right Nursing Home in New Jersey
How to Choose A Nursing Home
Whether you are seeking assisted living for yourself or for a loved one, the process of finding a nursing home can be overwhelming, especially with various options in the New Jersey. Despite the stress, it is a relief when you find the right one. Your loved one deserves compassionate care, and your family should have peace of mind that you have chosen well.
“My husband had lived in New Jersey his entire life, and when he needed nursing care, I wanted him to stay close by. Find a place with high marks. Talk to people you know.” —Marie F., Monroe Township, New Jersey
Begin by exploring places near your home, so that visits would be convenient. Ask your friends, coworkers and neighbors if they have had experience with any local facilities. Search the Internet for nearby nursing homes. If you like what you hear or read, schedule a tour.
Questions to Ask Nursing Homes
When you are considering a nursing home, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Here are a few preliminary questions to ask the staff at each facility.
- What is the staff-to-resident ratio?
- What kinds of expert staff are constantly onsite? (E.g., RNs, physicians, etc.)
- How are potential candidates for employment vetted? Are you performing background checks prior to hiring each new employee?
- Can you produce a complete list of your leadership personnel, and history of their turnover?
- Is your facility Medicare and Medicaid certified?
- Does your facility adhere to all federal and New Jersey nursing home requirements?
- Can you provide copies of your most recent state and federal inspection reports? (Nursing homes that care for Medicare and Medicaid patients must provide this information to the public.)
- Can you please provide a run-down of a typical day at your facility?
- Do residents get time outdoors when the weather is nice?
- What kinds of fun activities are available to the residents? Who coordinates these?
- Is my loved one able to get a private room? If not, how are roommates chosen? Can rooms be switched if challenges arise with their roommate?
- Do you consult a registered dietitian to plan nutritious meals? Are there several food choices at each meal?
- How often do residents get a medical check-up by a doctor?
- What kinds of therapeutic capabilities do you have onsite, and what kinds of issues require a visit to the hospital or an outside specialist?
- What kinds of special care do you offer to residents with my loved one’s medical conditions?
- What percentage of your residents with dementia are currently prescribed an antipsychotic medication?
- Who can I talk to if I have a concern about my loved one’s care while at your facility?
“When I was choosing a nursing home facility for my dad, I considered each organization’s leadership, from the top down. For me, ultimately it came down to the individual caregivers and their skill and compassion.”—Carolynn T., New Brunswick, New Jersey
Nursing Home Checklist for Your Visit
In addition to the answers you get from nursing home staff, you should make your own observations as well. When visiting a nursing home, pay close attention to the feeling you get while you are there. Your instincts are valuable — listen to them.
Take this basic checklist to help guide you, and jot notes while your observations are fresh in your mind. You’ll want to reflect back on these thoughts once you leave the premises, and after you’ve visited other facilities.
- Is the facility clean and orderly?
- Have you noticed that the staff smiles at you and at the residents?
- Does the staff call residents by name?
- Does the staff knock before entering residents’ bedrooms?
- Are the residents engaged in activities such as card games?
- Are the residents clean, and dressed appropriately for the time of year and time of day?
- Does the facility have a strong, pungent odor? (Many residential care facilities have a distinct odor, but it should not be overwhelming.)
- Is the facility set to a comfortable temperature?
- Do the residents’ rooms and common areas get good sunlight?
- Are exits marked clearly?
- Are there handrails next to residents’ beds and in bathrooms?
- Is the facility 100% wheelchair-accessible?
Has Your Family Dealt with Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse?
Despite the many New Jersey and federal assisted living facility requirements, many facilities provide substandard care to residents. This is why our nursing home abuse and neglect team at Dansky | Katz | Ringold is devoted to your family’s protection.
If you suspect that your loved one has suffered abuse, neglect or another form of improper care while at a New Jersey facility, your family may be entitled to compensation.