How to Find the Best Assisted Living Facility or Nursing Home

jrupenski@medbest.com
nursing home

Tips to Find the Best Assisted Living Facility or Nursing Home

The executive recruiting staff at MedBest Healthcare Recruiting has over 83 years of combined experience within the senior and long-term care community. Many of the MedBest healthcare recruiters are former executives and managers at Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs) and Nursing Homes (SNFs). This proprietary knowledge coupled with 15 years experience sifting through resumes and placing some of the most sought after ALF and Nursing Home positions has inspired the staff at MedBest to create a list of how to choose the right Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility for your loved one.

Decide If You Need a Nursing Home or an Assisted Living Facility

An Assisted Living Facility is a residential care facility that offers housing, meals, personal care and supportive services and activities to older and disabled adults who are unable to live independently, yet are not at the stage where they require 24-hour care, such as a Skilled Nursing Facility (aka SNF or Nursing Home). An ALF resident should be able to complete specific Activities of Daily Living (ADL). If your loved one can not accomplish these, than he or she may need a SNF instead. Keep in mind, moving is extremely stressful on elderly people. Some ALFs have SNFs attached to them. So if your loved one is close to transitioning to a Nursing Home you may want to consider this type of joint facility. Allowing your elderly parent to age in place should make their twilight years significantly less stressful.

Research the Nursing Home Positions and the Assisted Living Facility Positions

Nowadays you can find just about anything on the internet. And that includes reviews of Assisted Living Facilities and of Nursing Homes. A simple Googling of the ALF or SNF, along with the word “reviews” and the city you are interested in, will bring up a plethora of places to start. Most ALF and Nursing Home websites will tell you a lot about their community, the grounds, the cost and even reviews. Make sure to also locate independent reviews not associated with the facility you are researching for obvious reasons.

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Call and speak with the Nursing Home Administrator who can inform you of the type of assisted living positions or nursing home positions they staff. Can they accommodate your loved one’s needs? What is the ratio of staff to patient or resident? Do they have enough people to meet your standards?

Does the facility use a reputable healthcare recruiter to staff their Assisted Living jobs or Nursing Home jobs? This isn’t a prerequisite to being a good facility but reputable recruiting firms typically require extensive background and reference checks on their candidates. You can check out MedBest.com to learn about the standards of national recruiters. There are also personality assessments that recruiters use to better match employees with companies. Happy employees usually translate to happy residents and patients.

Check with a Senior Living Advisor

Senior Living advisors can be located within the private or commercial sector. A Place For Mom is a good resource guide and you can click on which state you are interested in on their website. And Argentum (formally ALFA) is an excellent national resource that has provided valuable information on Assisted Living for decades. The government agency of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will be able to point you toward your state agencies. There you should be able to find all types of information about senior housing and assisted living facilities.

Visit the Assisted Living Facility or Nursing Home During a Scheduled Activity

The best way to get an overview of a facility is to request a tour. You will be able to ask questions and get a first hand look at what the facility has to offer. Are these activities something your loved one would enjoy?  Take note of how the staff interacts with the people. Visiting during an activity provides a different insight, versus just visiting the community in a general sense.

Ask if they Use Interns or Volunteers

Ask if there are any assisted living positions that allow volunteers. Would your loved one enjoy being a volunteer, especially if it involved running an activity? Are any Nursing Home positions staffed by volunteers? If so, are they residents, patients or outside volunteers? And if they use outside volunteers, where do they find them? And inquire why they are not paying them. It could be a sign of monetary issues and quality concerns if the Nursing Home is using a significant amount of unpaid workers.

Pay Attention to Safety

Sit on the furniture and benches outside. Are they sturdy? Is there rust on the outdoor seating? Are the cushions, chairs and lounge furniture in tact? Lift up a cushion and scope out the frame of the furniture. Safety is a key priority for your elderly loved ones.

Speak to Current ALF Residents and Nursing Home Patients

Find out what current residents think of the community. Are they happy? Do they have concerns? Do they think the staff is happy with their Nursing Home jobs? Are the SNF or ALF management positions run with ease? How do the residents feel about the staff?

Eat at the ALF or SNH

Have lunch and a dinner at the facility. One of the biggest complaints from residents is the choices of food. Is your loved one a picky eater? Would you mind eating here every day? Is the food healthy? Does it taste good? What are the cafeteria hours for meals?

Check with your Government Agencies

The Department of Health and Human Services or a similar state organization such as the Department of Elder Affairs is a good start. These make an excellent resource directory and provide several links to senior living information. You can ask or research standings and reviews as well. Click here for the Florida Department of Elder Affairs as an example.

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You can also view a Nursing Home’s survey results here. This is a great site to compare the  Nursing Homes in your area. You can compare the overall ratings, and where the SNF ranks in quality, staffing and inspections.

Take Note of the Cleanliness

How does the facility smell? Is there any mildew or mold showing? Is it musty? Or does it have a fresh clean smell? Visit the medical areas and nourishment rooms. Do they look sanitary?  Are the floors shiny or does the carpet have spots?

Ask if the ALF or Nursing Home is Hiring Frequently

This is a good question for residents or patients. Do they have a new caretaker every other month? What’s the turnover rate? Change can be very stressful to patients in Nursing Homes. People everywhere will typically move on to another job, but how frequent is it happening? Is the staff interested in senior living careers, or is this just a temporary elder care job? Maintaining consistency creates trust and less stress on patients and residents

Ask Questions About Moving Out

Are there financial penalties for vacating early? What type of notice is required from the resident? And what type of notice can be given to the patient or resident. Can the facility evict a resident or patient relatively easily, or without cause? Moving is extremely stressful on the elderly. It’s important to try and find a facility that can accommodate the aging needs of your loved one. Is there a satisfaction guarantee clause?

Always Follow Up After Your Loved One Has Moved In

Is your loved one happy? Ask what they like and don’t like about their new home. Perhaps you can address these issues to the staff and help improve the quality of care if there is an issue.

The MedBest Healthcare Recruiting Firm has been placing thousands of qualified and top level management throughout the senior care industry, across the nation, for over 15 years. The MedBest success rate is significantly above the national average for successful hiring. If you are looking for a mid to upper level management position, or seeking top candidates for your company contact MedBest today and an executive recruiter will get you started.

About jrupenski@medbest.com

Julie Moyer-Rupenski is the President & Founder of MedBest, opening the doors in 2001. Since that time, Julie has gained national recognition for providing top talent solutions exclusively for the Senior Living Industry. She specializes in C-Suite, Corporate, and Regional level positions. Julie has an in-depth knowledge of the Senior Living Industry since she worked in operations for many years in both Senior Housing and Senior Living. Today, Julie makes it her personal and professional mission to place qualified people in health care positions where they have the greatest impact. Julie studied Gerontology at the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida. She continues her senior care education through various senior living conferences, forums, trade shows, and expos. Among her long-standing professional affiliations are LeadingAge, American Health Care Association, Florida Health Care Association, National Investment Center for Senior Housing & Care (NIC), National Association of Personnel Services (NAPS), and Next Level Exchange.