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6 Questions to Use When Interviewing a Long-Term Care Facility

It is never easy to realize that a loved one may no longer be able to live safely alone. Should this time come you may be faced with the challenge of helping him or her choose a long-term care facility or finding the right one to place your loved one in, if he or she is unable to participate in the choice.

While finding the right long-term care facility for your loved one may feel like an insurmountable challenge, it does not have to be. Let us share with you six key questions you may use during your interview process to ensure that you are finding the right care facility for your loved one both now and well into the future.

1. How does the facility handle changes in care? While we all wish that our loved ones would stay healthy, both mentally and physically, the likelihood of this wish decreases over time. Unfortunately, as we age, it is expected that we may experience both cognitive and physical decline. Ask the facility, now, how it will handle these issues and what conditions, if any, it is unable to manage.

2. How will a crisis be handled? In a similar vein, you want to inquire how the facility will handle a crisis. Should your loved one need a hospital, which one will he or she be transported to? How will transportation work? Is there a doctor onsite or on-call? Asking these questions early can help you have a better understanding of how this will be handled in the event a crisis should happen.

3. Do they accept long-term care insurance or other public benefits? Long-term care costs are expensive and Medicare will cover very little of it. If your loved one has a long-term care insurance policy ask if the facility has worked with this policy before and what is the result. If your loved one is a veteran or receiving public benefits such as Medicaid, ask if the facility accepts these payments, too.

4. What were the results of the facility’s last inspection? Although this is public record, ask for information on the facility’s last inspection. Were there improvements that needed to be made? Were they? Were there any glaring issues you should be concerned about or aware of?

5. How is socialization handled? One of the leading causes of illnesses for Older Americans is isolation. It may be emotionally hard for your loved one to move to this facility. Ask what a daily agenda looks like for a resident and what efforts will be taken to get your loved one involved. If there is a particular activity that your loved one enjoys but needs transportation to, ask if this may be arranged and handled by the facility.

6. What is the staff to patient ratio? It is critical to understand how quickly your loved one’s needs can be met. While a low staff to patient ratio does not ensure his or her needs will be met, it can help to know in advance. Be sure to ask and observe for yourself while you tour the facility, in addition to the answers you were provided during your initial research.

We know that these are just a few of the questions you want to ask when you begin to compare long-term care facilities. We also know that this article may raise more questions than it answers. Do not hesitate to contact us to schedule a meeting so that we may help you plan for the need for long-term care for a loved one both right now, and in the future.