Many of my clients are surprised when they are told their senior loved one has “reached a plateau,” with his/her assessment for the appropriate level of care upon their release from the rehabilitation community is going to be key for your loved one’s long term plan of care. If your loved one requires two people to assist him/her with activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, transferring, and walking) they are not suited for skilled nursing care. It is always in your loved one’s best interest to begin at a higher level of care and move them down (ie. from skilled nursing to assisted living) to a lower level of care.
2. While your loved one is partaking in their short-term rehabilitation, take a look at their long-term financial picture. Most of the nursing homes in the State of Illinois are requiring one to two years of private pay before allowing an application for Medicaid to be filed. It is taking the State of Illinois up to 14 months to reimburse the nursing homes for their public aid residents. That is the reason for the stringent qualifications. The temptation to place a loved one in assisted living in order to avoid the stigma of placement in a nursing home will be present. If your loved one needs the medical care, think with your brain and not your emotions.
3. When you are ready to begin tours of communities, remember there are advantages to making a confirmed appointment rather than taking a “walk in” tour. Then, you will have an opportunity to speak with the Admissions Director who is an expert on what the facility has to offer. Otherwise, you will be given a tour by whoever is available. This may result in a poor tour and cause you to discount a perfectly good community.
4. Ask about the staffing ratio of Certified Nurse Assistants (CNA) and nurses to residents.
5. Study the activity schedule at each community you are considering for your loved one. It is traumatic to move to a long term care community. It will be even more traumatic if the activities offered don’t match the senior’s personality. Try and take tours at 10:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M. because that is when they are normally held. Check the schedule to see if there is anything being offered in the evening.
6. While there may be a real temptation to do research online, not all of the information published is reliable. I have seen many online reviews that have been blatantly incorrect or out of date. Some of the photographs haven’t presented the communities in a positive light.
7. If you are considering hiring a