Getting help

Other Community-based Services - Nursing Home

Making the decision
Sometimes, people think that because their family member is not functioning as they once did that it automatically means it’s time to move to the nursing home. The fact is, that’s not always the case. There are many resources in your area that can help keep your family member home for as long as possible before a nursing home becomes necessary. Home care and adult day services are two such examples of particularly useful resources.

The decision to move to a nursing home can be precipitated by many factors. The ever-increasing need for assistance in physical care, coupled with your own depleting stores of energy and patience are very real considerations, as are limited opportunities for socialization. Nursing homes are utilized more and more for rehab as the care recipient who suffered a fractured hip or stroke regains strength and mobility. In many of these instances, the individual returns home after a short stay.

Insofar as possible, involve the care recipient in the decision-making process. It is a family affair, one that touches everyone. Be aware that the individualized attention the care recipient has received at home will be difficult to duplicate in a nursing home. Staying involved with the nursing home care team will ensure that your family member continues to receive optimum care.

The application process
Once it’s clear that your care receiver needs more care, identify several nursing homes in the area near your home. This will make it easier for you to visit. Call their Admissions Office and ask to schedule a tour. Bring with you two forms: the PRI (Patient Review Instrument) and the Screen.

Completed by an RN (from the hospital, the Visiting Nurse Service, or certified RNs in the community), the PRI tells the nursing home what kind of care your family member will require with such areas as bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, and transferring, and if there are verbal, physical, or perceptual disturbances.

The Screen addresses the possibility of returning home after a hospital discharge, any physical or occupational therapy being received, and any mental illness or retardation that may require special services.

The Admissions staff will tell you which documents will be needed to complete the application process. Generally speaking, these documents regard personal identification and financial records.

As nursing home costs are quite expensive, know that it often becomes necessary for most individuals to apply for Medicaid.

On your tour of the nursing home, look for the following:

  • is the facility clean?
  • is there an odor throughout the facility?
  • are the residents groomed and dressed?
  • are the rooms cheerful or depressing?
  • are the majority of residents out of bed?
  • do the individual rooms have the resident’s personal items such as pictures displayed?
  • does the staff seem to be genuinely interested in the residents?
  • how do they interact with the residents?
  • if you observe a meal, does the food look appetizing?
  • are those who need assistance with eating being helped?
  • are the staff talking among themselves or with the residents?
  • what are the available activities?
  • ask if you can observe an activity.

Locate a nursing home
Click on your borough for a listing of nursing homes in your area. For more information on these facilities, contact FRIA (Friends and Relatives of the Institutionalized Aged) at www.fria.org or the Alzheimer’s & LTC Unit at the Dept for the Aging (212 442-3086).