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Questions to Ask Long-Term Care Facilities

Questions to Ask Long-Term Care Facilities

This blog is part of a year-long series aimed at addressing some of the most frequently asked questions we hear from family and adult children on the topics most concerning them regarding their aging parents or loved one. In 2012 Hebrew SeniorLife published the eBook "You & Your Aging Parent: A Family Approach to Lifelong Health, Wellness & Care," a compilation of answers from HSL geriatric experts in response to the many of the most frequently asked questions. We're reposting some of the most popular Q&A posts from our original eBook which was downloaded over 2,000 times. We're also adding new Q&As throughout the series that address topics not originally included in our eBook. Sign up to receive the blog series and download our original eBook at www.hslindependentliving.org

Many families understand that long-term chronic care is often the best option for an elderly family member who needs care 24 hours a day. When seeking a long-term care facility, families need to ask the right questions to determine whether the residence is the best fit for their loved one. Here are some things every family should be thinking about when it comes to long-term care:

It’s important that the facility is able to meet your loved ones’ needs. Will your relative need access to a dentist? Perhaps he or she will need to see a physical therapist on a regular basis. Is there a full time physician on staff? 

Visit the facility more than once and be sure to bring your loved one, the prospective resident. After all, this will be his or her new home.  Do not rush the visits. Take the necessary time to talk with staff and residents. Have your questions prepared ahead of time and make sure you get answers to all of your questions. Find out if a Family Support group is offered. You may find that this will be helpful to you after your loved one has moved into the facility.

What is the outside space like? It may not be important in the middle of winter, but come spring and summer time you’ll want to know that you can enjoy visiting outdoors. Are there seating areas where you can have a picnic? If there are grandchildren, this will be a great place for them to visit with their grandparent.  

Make arrangements to speak with the activities director. More and more nursing homes are offering activities and groups tailored to meet the interests of the residents. What specific interests does your loved one have? Will the facility be able to accommodate his or her interests? Does the facility offer religious support and services? Do residents have food choices at meal times?

Be sure to spend time talking with the social worker. Find out what hours the social worker is available. You want to know that he or she will be there for you if there’s something you need in the future. 

Remember, it’s a good sign when a nursing home makes you and your loved one feel comfortable right from the start! That includes feeling comfortable when asking the questions that are important to you.

For more information and advice from Hebrew SeniorLife experts on choosing long-term care, download our free Long-Term Care Planning Guide

About Long-Term Chonric Care at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center 
Hebrew Rehabilitation Center is reinventing the long-term chronic care program so seniors can live their best lives. The basic tenet of care at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center is patient preferences come first. Our vision for long-term chronic care emphasizes the dignity, health and independence of seniors. Our innovative programming—along with a dedicated staff of Harvard Medical School-affiliated physicians, geriatric specialists, nurses and more—can be experienced in three communities in Massachusetts: Hebrew Rehabilitation Center Boston, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center Dedham at NewBridge on the Charles, and long-term care at Orchard Cove in Canton. We welcome older adults of all backgrounds, faiths and cultures.

Robin Bromberg, MSW, LICSW's picture

About the Blogger

Social Services Leader at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, Boston

As the Social Services Leader at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, Boston, Robin Bromberg manages all social services for long-term care residents at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Boston campus, including supervising both staff social workers and graduate-level interns.  Robin earned her masters of social work at Simmons College and completed her undergraduate degree in psychology at Tufts University.

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when will you have Skype available for residents and distant families?
Hi Dr. Lewis, That's a great question. Skype is a free downloadable computer program that you can download on your loved one's personal PC or laptop. If your loved one doesn't own a computer, ask staff at their residence (Orchard Cove, NewBridge, etc.) where they can gain access to a computer for resident use. There may be one available in the library, but please check with members of staff to confirm. Thanks! Erica HSL Social Media Team

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