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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN / Choosing the Right Partner in Care / Editorial List

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Gary Barg

Choosing the Right Partner in Care

“I will fearlessly acknowledge when providing care for my family member becomes impossible, either because of his or her condition or my own, and seek other solutions for my family member's care needs.”

This principle in the Fearless Caregiver Manifesto relates to one of the most important decisions you may be asked to make as a family caregiver—choosing an appropriate long-term care facility for your loved one. With this decision you are not only selecting a safe and comfortable place in which your loved one will live, but also a team of healthcare professionals who will become your partners in care. Before you choose a facility it is important to consider some important points. The first thing to remember is that when entering any facility is that you should trust your own senses. Are you comfortable that the facilities residents are content and well cared for in a clean and comfortable surrounding?

You may want to also:

  • Conduct a “smell test.” Be concerned if the facility has a strong scent of urine or even an overpowering disinfectant smell.
  • Speak to as many different staff and residents as possible. Get a sense of how the residents and workers feel about the facility; do they enjoy living or working there?
  • Talk frankly with family members of other residents.
  • Notice how the staff treats the other residents in their care. That probably reflects the level of care your loved one will receive
  • Visit at differing times of day and evening before making a decision.
  • Ask about the level of staff to resident. How many are on duty during the day, overnight and on weekends?
  • Ask about the facility’s policy for holding a bed if your loved one must be hospitalized or go into a rehabilitation facility for a temporary period.
  • Ask to see a copy of the facility's contract and read it carefully. You may want to consult with an attorney before signing a contract.
  • Find out if the facility has a comprehensive disaster and emergency plan including evacuation procedures and when it was last updated. Ask to review a copy of the plan.

Visit a few area facilities before making a choice. You are in charge of this important decision and should never be made to feel as though you were pressured to choose any particular facility. You need to research, ask plenty of questions and above all (as always), trust your own instincts.

2014 Today's CaregiverTM Friendly Awards - Long-Term Care Facilities

Gary Barg

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