Humans’ desire to live independently begins in adolescence and continues into older adulthood. Though many seniors can handle the tasks of daily life on their own, others may need varying degrees of assistance.
Seniors have various options at their disposal in regard to finding help to get through daily life. Those who need round-the-clock help typically look to skilled nursing facilities, or SNFs, which are staffed with licensed nurses and therapists who are capable of providing a more advanced level of medical care than home health aides or assisted living facilities can offer.
Seniors who want to plan ahead can shop around for SNFs and make their preferences known in their estate planning. When looking for an SNF, seniors and their loved ones can utilize these tips to find the right facility.
Speak with your health care team. Seniors’ health care teams, including their general practitioners as well as any doctors who may have treated them for specific diseases or conditions, can be great resources. For example, an oncology team may recommend a local SNF that has a strong track record in working with cancer survivors. Many people who stay in SNFs do so as part of a rehabilitation program, and a health care team can provide valuable insight into which facilities may match up well with individual patients’ needs.
Give location ample consideration. When looking for an SNF, location should not be overlooked. The quality of care a facility can provide should be the utmost priority, but the value of choosing a facility that’s close to loved ones cannot be understated, especially for seniors who will be moving in for a lengthy period of time. Routine visits from loved ones can lift the spirits of SNF residents. In addition, AARP¨ notes that regular visitors can scrutinize care and serve as residents’ advocates if they feel their concerns are not being satisfactorily addressed by staff members.
Visit facilities in person. Online ratings can provide some insight into a facility, but nothing can replace the value of an in-person visit. The American Health Care Association urges families to observe a facility in person so they can gauge its overall environment and whether or not it seems like a peaceful or chaotic place. Pay close attention to residents and try to determine if they’re well-groomed. These are things that can only be noticed in person, which underscores the importance of in person visits.
Skilled nursing facilities are an option for seniors who require advanced medical care. Finding the right facility requires careful consideration of a host of factors.