What to Look for During a Skilled Nursing Facility and Post-Acute Care Facility Tour

rot14What to Look for During a Skilled Nursing Facility and Post-Acute Care Facility Tour
Applies to both Short Term Care and Long Term Care

1. Look for a well-kept, clean environment. The building can be older, but should not smell overwhelmingly of urine or feces. Remember that at times when aids or nurses are providing personal care to residents, these scents will be noticeable, but it should not be the overall smell of the facility.

2. Ask staff how the food tastes. Look for a variety in meals, the ability to meet special dietary needs, and the ability to offer the resident multiple choices if they do not like what is on the menu.

3. Assess the activity in the facility. Are the staff active and busy? You may notice some residents in the hallways appearing to sleep or stare. This does not always mean that they are not being cared for. Remember – this is a resident's home while they are at the facility. Most residents choose to be mobile in their chairs or walkers. If they choose to rest and take a short nap while they are moving about the facility, the staff allows them to do so. For example, if you were at home and decided to sit in the hall chair and rest a bit, you would not want to be told otherwise! When you see residents, whether mobile or resting, look to see if they are well kept, with clean clothing, clean bandages or dressings, and well-groomed nails and facial hair. Ask the admissions staff about the activities at the facility – what is available to residents? How do the activities staff help them participate?

4. You may wish to ask about the staffing to patient ratio. Be aware that nearly all healthcare facilities flex staffing according to census, so make sure you ask for a ratio, rather than how many nurses and aids are on staff.

5. Ask about resident rights and ensure the facility addresses resident and family concerns. Facilities should hold a resident council regularly, where residents can bring concerns to the management staff. Care plans with family should be held in a timely manner regularly.

6. Ask about payment, insurance and the patient's responsibility before deciding on nursing home care. Facilities should be able to tell you the basics of payment. For example, Medicare covers day 1-20 at 100 percent. Starting day 21, there is a $152.00/day co-pay up to day 100, which is the resident's responsibility. Many times a secondary insurance or Medicaid will pick up that co-pay. After day 100, the resident is responsible for payment. However, several factors go into whether a person is qualified for skilled nursing. Work with the hospital discharge planners, or, if your loved on is coming from home, be sure to ask the facility social worker how payment works and what can be expected in terms of coverage and resident responsibility.

What Sets the Willows Apart

1. The Willows offers Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy seven days a week! That means if a resident comes to us on a Friday afternoon, they will not wait until Monday to begin their therapy regimen as ordered by the physician.

2. The Willows offers primarily short term rehabilitation. The words "nursing home" can often be scary or misleading to those who think of it as a final destination. At The Willows, most people come to stay with us for a short time – up to 100 days – for rehabilitation to get stronger. Our goal is to help residents regain their previous quality of life as much as possible, and get them stronger to return to their place of residence. Long term care is an option as well, and our caring staff prides itself in an excellent restorative nursing program that helps individuals maintain their optimal health goals.

3. The Willows staff is committed to a strong continuum of care for patients. The primary care physicians and specialists of our residents will receive weekly or as-needed updates on their patients and condition changes while the patient is here. In addition, Willows staff assists with scheduling discharge appointments and follow-ups with the resident's primary care providers upon discharge.

4. We offer a fine dining experience, with meals served waiter/waitress style in a group setting, with linens and flatware. Some residents may choose to dine in their rooms, in which trays are provided. Staff encourages the group dining experience for healthy socialization. THE WILLOWS WON TOP CHEF IN THE PORTER COUNTY TASTE OF CARE COMPETITION AMONG ALL AREA SKILLED NURSING AND ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES!

5. Shower aids at The Willows are assigned specifically for that task. May residents may be stressed by needing assistance with private activities such as showering. By having the same 1-2 shower aids for the length of stay, Willows patients are assured a level of dignity not found elsewhere, and we have found that it also helps with skin integrity as well, as the aids become very familiar with the patient's skin type to avoid skin breakdown and pressure sores.

Please feel free to call for a tour any time! (219) 464-4858.