Admitting your elder into a nursing home or skilled nursing facility can be one of the most emotional decisions in the caregiving journey. It is often accompanied by feelings of guilt, failure or fear -- sometimes with justification.

But moving your elder into a nursing home should be viewed as a way to ensure that your elder is receiving the best care possible. Skilled nursing facilities can better handle the medical and behavioral problems of our aging loved ones. These facilities are staffed with highly qualified professionals. Many of them contain employees who hold a Master’s of Science in Nursing. This type of qualification can help families feel more secure about their decision. The experience and knowledge one gains from obtaining this type of degree can show their dedication and passion for the industry. Search online to find out more about the requirements necessary to achieve this type of degree. This way you will know what to expect out of these trained individuals.

You can -- and should -- stay involved in the care of your loved one. By visiting the facility often and participating in care plan reviews, you show your elder and the staff that you are concerned. Staff respond more positively when they know you and understand your elder's background. And you can focus on your relationship with your elder instead of the minutae of day-to-day caregiving.

Choosing a Nursing Home

Health Care Financing Adminsitration (HCFA) -- The US federal agency that runs the Medicare and Medicaid health programs.

Find a Nursing Home -- Use HCFA's comprehensive Nursing Home COMPARE database to find a certified nursing home near you.

Get Quality Assessment Reports -- Review the most recent annual inspection report prepared by federal reviewers. Find the facility in the above database and click on "About the Nursing Home Inspection Results."

Review Earlier Reports -- Nursing facilities, staffing, residents and faciltiy deficiencies from 1991-1997. Note that the document is in Adobe Acrobat (*.pdf format) and may take a few minutes to download in view.

Living in a Nursing Home

LTC Ombudsman Program -- Detailed information for career and family caregivers on the Administration on Aging's ombudsman programs.

LTC Ombudsman Contacts -- These volunteer advocates for resident rights can help you resolve problems with facility administrators.

State Survey Agencies -- Conduct annual inspections certified nursing home in your state, and cite homes for deficient practices. Contact them if you have a complaint about the quality of life or quality of care inside a nursing home.

Medicaid Bureau Fraud and Abuse Information -- Learn about the most common rip-offs, tips to prevent fraud and how to report fraud.

National Citizens' Coalition for Nursing Home Reform (NCCNHR) -- The leading organization for improving nursing home quality, including citizen groups and family councils.

ElderCare Online Resources

Residential Options Channel -- Our comprehensive list of articles, guides and tool for choosing and living in a nursing facility.

Choosing a Nursing Home Learning Resoruce Guide -- Complete guide to choosing a facility, including what to look for, questions to ask, and how to make the transition to living in a facility.

1999 Prism Innovations, Inc. All Rights Reserved.