When I was asked about writing this sponsored post I thought I could offer a different perspective of thought from the healthcare professional. If you’ve been around here for a while you might know that my day job is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. I work in an acute care hospital. Before that I had worked at a few Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) commonly referred to as Nursing homes. A part of my job is to help the patient and family decide the safest place to go after discharge from the hospital to work towards a patient’s goals. Of course almost everyone wants to go home but it’s not always possible.
Some factors that could inhibit a person’s direct discharge to home after hospital admissions could be (trust me these are only a few common ones and there are certainly many more)
1. Amount of care needed. Even if they were doing well before, circumstances that brought them to the hospital could be life changing not just for the patient but for the people around them. Devastating diagnosis such as a dense stroke, moderate or severe head injury, or even a hip fracture could require someone to need 24/7 care and not everyone can do that. Your loved one can’t care for themselves.
2. Type of care needed. Perhaps it’s not the amount of physical assist need but rather the loved one’s cognitive status doesn’t allow them to be at home safely by themselves maybe because of Dementia, brain injury, or stroke. Or maybe they’ll need ongoing medical care that only a trained nurse can provide such as IV antibiotics or specialized wound care.
3. Temporary placement for therapy purposes or until appropriate accommodations can be made at home. There are plenty of people in my line of work that, because of insurance (or lack of) or the level of care needed, don’t qualify to go to a rehabilitation center or short term rehab center. Often people think of a Skilled Nursing Facility as a place someone goes to stay but that’s not always the case. In fact, the SNF I worked at before working at the hospital had a whole wing set aside for short-term rehab patients. They may only stay for a week or two or a month or 2. Also, we had patients that would stay periodically for respite care.
4. Not having family nearby that can help. Maybe there’s children but they all live out of state or over an hour’s drive from them. Perhaps they were the caregiver for their spouse but now they need some help themselves. Maybe there is family close but they are often out of town for work or already caring for another family member.
Sometimes a loved one may need special accommodations to be able to live safely at home but you need time to have a ramp built so they can enter the home, install grab bars in the bathroom, or make their home livable on one floor if they have a two story house. You may also need to line up caregivers or coordinate with family for care of the patient.
As I said there could be a lot of reasons why someone would choose or need to go to a Skilled Nursing Facility. Once you’ve made that decision, the next question might be, “But which one?”
Working at the hospital I’m not allowed to recommend specific facilities. I can’t say “oh yea nursing home A is wonderful but I heard nursing home C is not very good”. The truth is no matter what care facility you look into there are always people that will praise it and people that will put it down. To start your search you could check out a site like BestNursingHomes.com
If I’m going to pick apart the site, Here are some things I like:
1. Non-profit – to me this is important. I wouldn’t want to be choosing from a list just because they paid to be there. I would want to know my REAL options. It’s run by Association of Skilled Service Providers which is a non-profit that educates the public about skilled nursing care.
2. Approved by Medicare as one of the top in the country – so it’s not just some dude in a cubicle saying “hey this one looks nice, oh look a pool!”
3. No Personal Info to Enter – I don’t want to be looking for info on a serious matter like this and have some salesman calling and hounding me about facility A because, while nice, “facility A” might not be affordable or maybe “facility B” is just too far away.
4. You Can Contact the Nursing Care Center Personally – you don’t have to go through an agent. You can actually talk to the administrator, set up a tour of the facility, ask whatever question you might have.
5. You Can See What Other Have to Say About It – read real consumers opinions on the facilities you might be interested in
Best Nursing Homes has been made possible by the generous donation of North American Health Care and its CEO, John Sorensen. John has made it his life’s work to serve the elderly population and has sponsored the development of BNH and donated it to the ASNP for use. “We are very grateful for the leadership of John Sorensen in the post-acute care industry,” said Amy Osmond Cook, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Association for Skilled Nursing Providers. “John is a leader in his field, a generous philanthropist, and a great example of someone who places serving the patient above anything else. We are proud to be associated with John and North American Health Care and grateful for his support to promote best practices in skilled nursing.”