Learning that a loved one may need long-term care can be a challenging time. We know that it is not easy to juggle the responsibilities that come from assisting your parent in finding a long-term care facility or placing them within one, while still maintaining your own daily schedule.

We know that if you are looking into securing a spot within a skilled nursing facility for a loved one, you may feel overwhelmed. Searching for a long-term care facility for a parent is, in many ways, similar to searching for a new home. We also know that is not a decision you can make lightly. This will be the care provider for your aging parent and, as such, we want to ensure that they are in the right environment for them.

Let us share five key features to consider when you are starting or going through your search for the right place for your aging parent that we share with our clients, friends, family, and network of advisors.

Does the facility provide the level of care required for your loved one? If your loved one needs an above-average level of care or specialized staff on hand, then it is of the utmost importance for you to research the care provided by the facility. You need the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is able to live in an environment filled with experienced, capable, and caring hands.

Does the facility have a licensed physician on staff or on call? Is this person there every day or easily reachable in case of emergency? Emergency medical care and ambulances can be costly, scary, and avoidable if proper medical care is given preemptively or is readily available in the event of an emergency. Ask the tough questions relating to health care now, as you are interviewing facilities.

Alternatively, is your loved one able to see his or her preferred physician even if there is an in-house doctor available? While having medical care readily available is important, when your aging parent already has a trusting relationship with his or her doctors and wishes to keep those relationships after moving to a nursing facility, you need to know early on if this will be possible. Determine if the nursing facility you are evaluating requires your loved one to see its physician or if outside physicians may still be consulted. Also, ask now how transportation to outside health care providers will be managed.

Does the physical facility meet your needs and preferences, as well as, those of your loved one? Visit the facility, preferably with your loved one when possible, and thoroughly explore the interior and surrounding grounds. Is the building safely designed both inside and outside? Are the licensing and regulations up-to-date? Is it smoke-free and free of unwanted smells? Does it appear clean and well-lit? Is it in an area free from disturbing noise? Consider qualities that your loved ones need in a home and apply those to the skilled nursing facility you are evaluating.

Where is it located? In connection to the physicality of the building, is the nursing facility located in a convenient location for you, your loved one’s friends, and other family members? If there are multiple people or places that your loved one prefers to be reasonably near to, convenience could be a consideration you use to geographically narrow your search for a nursing facility.

While these are only a few tips to help you in your search for a skilled nursing facility, we hope that they can help you get your search started and to allow you to make a more informed decision. If you have further questions on this topic or if you need our help moving forward, please do not hesitate to contact our office.