Thursday, December 31, 2015

4 questions to ask your director of nursing

Choosing a nursing facility for your loved one can be stressful — especially when you don’t have much time to make a decision. Angela Allen, director of nursing with Christian Care Communities’ Christian Health Center Louisville, answers some common questions about nursing facilities.

1. How can I start looking for a reputable nursing home?
“Go to Type in a specific facility or zip code in the search bar. A list of different facility names will appear. When you click on the facility you want to look at, the site will give you the facility’s star rating in different areas of care.”

2. What else should a caregiver look for when searching for a nursing home?
“Pay attention to the overall cleanliness of the building and appearance of the staff. Does the staff smile at you and greet you? Request a tour of the building from the admissions director. Find out what the staffing ratios are because ideally a facility would have adequate staffing so that they aren’t giving substandard care. Ask about the activity program and try to view some activities that are going on. Ask to look at the facility’s annual survey and complaint surveys.”

3. How are meals planned out in a nursing home? Who determines the menu?
“The dietary director and dietitian will review sample menus from a food provider such as Gordon Food Service, and they decide what best fits the facility. The menu usually changes from season to season. However, they may not use every meal on the menu. The menu will provide details on how much to cook for portions. If people are on special diets or if someone is diabetic, the menu will let you know what you can substitute.”

4. How does the admissions process work?
“We have hospital liaisons who visit a region of hospitals. They receive referrals from the discharge planners at the hospitals. The liaison reviews the referral to see if the patient is appropriate to place at a specific nursing facility. Then the referral goes to the admissions director. The admissions director will see if we have a room available, check if the patient will need any specialized equipment, and verify their insurance for placement. If the patient has been accepted, the liaison notifies the hospital and family. Then the admissions director lets the nursing staff know they’ll be getting a new admission.”

Read more in our winter issue of Today’s Transitions.

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