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What to look for when choosing a nursing home

Considering a nursing home for your loved one is always a tough decision. It can be stressful to find the right home and imagine other people caring for your family member. One of the sad truths of this decision is that Illinois has some of the worst options for nursing homes in the country.

That is why it is so important to know what you should consider when touring nursing homes and exploring your options for elder care. Here are some key factors to look for:

Staff

When you visit a nursing home, be attentive to the number of staff members and their behavior. Many nursing homes are understaffed. When this happens, the staff is overworked and is much more likely to make mistakes or poor decisions due to stress. Ask about the staff-to-patient ratio and if nurses work a lot of overtime.

Also watch the staff's behavior. They should treat all residents with respect, both physically and in how they speak with them. If staff is talking to the residents and keeping them company while they have time between tasks, that's a good sign too.

Facility

The facility itself should be clean and free from clutter. Falls are one of the biggest causes of injury in a nursing home, and although it is impossible to prevent them completely, the nursing home should be set up to reduce that risk when possible. For example, the area should be well-lit and beds should be low enough to provide easy access. It is also a positive sign if the rooms have call buttons for residents to call for help.

If your loved one needs special treatment or attention, such as if they suffer from dementia, make sure to ask a lot of questions about the care they can provide. You want to be sure the staff is equipped to care for your loved one properly and that the facility is right for your loved one's condition.

Resident life

Be aware of the residents' activity while you visit nursing homes. It is a good sign when residents are out and about rather than all being isolated in their rooms. Ask about residents' daily schedules and what is available for them to do during the day. You should also ask about visitation to ensure that you can visit your loved one when you'd like.

Even if a nursing home seemed good at first, sadly, abuse can still happen. If your loved one suffers any type of abuse while in a nursing home, contact a skilled attorney to help you and your loved one through this difficult time.

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