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Tips On Selecting The Right Nursing Home

El Centro, California (NAPSI) - The number of people over age 50 providing care for at least one living parent has soared to more  than 10 million, according to the Center for Long Term Care Research and  Policy at New York  Medical College.

  This responsibility frequently comes at a time when caregivers are confronted  with many other stressors, including retirement, financially supporting adult  children or dealing with health concerns of their own.

Caring for aging loved ones often involves making difficult decisions  about when to begin searching for a senior living facility and how to select  the right one. Sue Mullaney, a geriatric nurse  practitioner, knows firsthand the emotional, financial and physical toll  these kinds of decisions can take. Mullaney is the  National Director of Clinical Programs for Optum CarePlus, which coordinates care in thousands of nursing  homes across the nation. She offers these tips to help ease the burden for  people beginning the search for a nursing home:

• Evaluate the quality of  health care. Learn how each prospective facility coordinates care, as  well as how and when residents will have access to medical professionals. Are  supervisors on-site to oversee the quality of care provided? Are registered  nurses or nurse practitioners available for additional care coordination?  Knowing each facility’s procedures will help you make the best choice.

• Determine the right  treatment option. Some nursing homes specialize in rehabilitative  services while others focus on caring for patients with specific conditions,  such as Alzheimer’s or stroke recovery. Depending on your loved one’s  needs, search for a facility with the right specialization.

• Consider the appearance.  When it comes to selecting a nursing home, you can judge a book by its cover.  Take a good look around a facility’s dining area, community spaces and  living areas, as well as the exterior grounds. Are they clean and well cared  for? Are employees courteous and professional? Are residents interacting and  participating in activities? These answers are important to determine the  quality of life at a facility.

• Set clear expectations.  Once you select the right nursing facility, ask the staff to develop a  written care plan for the individual who will receive care. Request a time to  review it with family members. By communicating care needs to facility staff  early in the process, you can help prevent a lapse in care during the  transition. This process will also help you build relationships with  personnel and set expectations for methods and frequency of communication  with family members.

Throughout the process, remember that the more information you have, the  more comfortable you and your loved ones will be with your decision.  Considering these criteria will help you prioritize your needs and select the  right facility. To learn more about CarePlus, visit