Questions To Ask A Nursing Home Representative

If it's nearing the time when a relative of yours has to go into a nursing home, you need to be careful about which one you choose. Because you'll be moving this relative from his or her regular home to one where the overall environment is strange, the nursing home has to be one that is comforting and that has staff and residents who the relative will like. Think of the future when formulating questions.

Would There Be Room Eventually for a Spouse?

If the relative going into the home is married, and the spouse is still alive, check what you would have to do to have the spouse join the relative if the spouse ever needed care. Assuming the couple gets along, you wouldn't want to have the two separated permanently. It may be possible to pre-reserve space, but that depends on how popular the nursing home is and what the home's specific policies are. If the home is a combined nursing home and assisted living or independent living facility, it may be possible to have both spouses move in at the same time even if their levels of independence are different.

How Permanent Is the Room Assignment?

If the relative's health worsens, and he or she has to go to the hospital, would he or she still have the same room upon returning from the hospital? You might assume yes, but don't assume it. If the relative's condition is very bad and the recorvery is a surprise that no one expected, you could find that there were other people eyeing that relative's room. Be sure the nursing home keeps the room assigned to the relative.

What Are the Transportation Options?

For those residents who are reasonably independent in day-to-day activities, but who can't drive, what are the transportation options? Are the residents limited to going only those places they can walk to if they don't have a relative or friend who can drive them? Are there scheduled shopping trips? A shuttle service that people can request in advance for independent trips?

What Happens if the Person's Condition Improves?

This is a different issue than the permanent-room question previously mentioned. Say the relative enters the nursing home, and his or her condition remains steady for a while. Then, through luck or through medical advances, the relative's condition improves so much that he or she could live almost independently but would still need assistance (so living alone at home would still not be an option). Would the nursing home order the relative to find another assisted living facility? Or could the relative remain at the nursing home if he or she had made friends and set down roots there?

Good nursing homes offer flexibility and optimism. Your relative should find one, like Regina Nursing Center, that makes him or her confident that it is just another place to live and not one where housing might ever be in question.