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    Tips for Choosing a Nursing Home

    How to choose a nursing home suitable for your parent’s needs

    Last update: 02/12/21

    The decision to move your aging parent into a nursing home is difficult for both you and your parent, involving both financial and emotional implications. All too often, this decision must be made quickly, before a parent is released from the hospital, or due to a sudden decline in the parent’s health, a foreign worker’s unexpected departure, or any other change that makes you feel you can no longer manage your parent’s daily care in his/ her home.

    Involve your parent in the decision to move him/ her into a nursing home

    It is very important to listen to what your parent wants. Does he/ she wish or agree to move into a nursing home, either temporarily or permanently? If your parent is mentally lucid and can engage in conversation to express his/ her needs and desires, he/ she must be given the chance to take part in this decision. Tell your parent about options in the preferred area, show pictures of homes and ,if possible, bring him/ her with you when you visit these places.

    Moreover, even if your parent is not mentally lucid, it is still important to let him/ her know, in any way possible, about the intention to move him/ her into a nursing home.

    Talk to a professional about the decision to move your parent into a nursing home

    It is important to consult a doctor, nurse or social worker, who are familiar with your parent’s medical/ functional condition, and can guide you with regard to his/ her specific needs.

    Collecting general information about nursing homes in the area

    It is advisable to plan for the future even if there is no immediate need to move your parent to a nursing home. Asking friends or professionals and collecting information can prove helpful. Look for nursing homes in the area that seems most appropriate. Ask acquaintances who have been using such services for recommendations, prices and types of nursing homes, and inquire how satisfied they and their parents are with particular homes. This information can be very valuable if you ever have to make a quick decision.

    Applying to the Ministry of Health for financial assistance towards the cost of a nursing home

    If your parent is mentally or physically frail (requiring constant nursing care) consider applying to the Ministry of Health for financial assistance towards the cost of a nursing home. The Ministry of Health will evaluate your parent’s functional condition and the family’s financial circumstances and determine the level of financial assistance.

    To download application forms for filing a request to the Ministry of Health click here.

    Conducting a market survey to compare nursing homes

    Before deciding on a nursing home for your parent, conduct a “market survey” to check the following points:

    1.      If you have received a “code”, find out which nursing homes in the area accept residents with a “code”.

    2.      Confirm that the nursing home is licensed and regularly supervised by the Ministry of Health.

    3.      What are the nursing home’s payment arrangements? Is there an entrance fee or only a monthly fee?

    4.      What is the nursing home’s policy with regard to purchasing medications and absorbency products?

    5.      Find out about the quality of care and the number of caregivers per resident in different shifts.

    6.      When are doctors present at the home?

    7.      Are there any suitable recreational and cultural activities?

    Consider consulting a company specializing in nursing home placements

    Various placement agencies active in Israel can help you find the right nursing home for your parent, quickly and efficiently. These agencies are closely familiar with the choice of nursing homes in the preferred area, and their professionals will talk to you about your expectations with regard to the type of home, care, location, quality of accommodations and price.

    Visit the nursing home more than once

    When you visit the nursing home, talk to the management, the doctor and the head nurse. Prepare a list of questions about the working hours and approach of the senior staff, doctor and social worker. Ask for information about the number of caregivers per resident in the various shifts, as well as the caregivers’ training and qualifications. Inquire about available treatments, such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy. Ask for detailed information about the menu and kitchen standards, and whether   residents can receive a special diet when they need it.

    Ask to take a tour of the nursing home’s various departments. Special things to note during your tour: overall cleanliness, how crowded the rooms are, types of beds and whether they have  railings, cleanliness of bathrooms and showers, emergency buttons and where they are placed, and whether the dining room is pleasant and spacious. In wings for the mentally frail observe the security arrangements at the doorway: can anyone just walk in and out or is the door locked, so that only authorized personnel may open it?

    Visit the home again independently, without making prior arrangements, at different times of day.  Meal times, specifically the evening meal, are an excellent time to visit a nursing home, providing you with a firsthand impression of the quality of food and the caregivers’ attitude as they feed the residents. At this time you will also be able to meet visiting family members and ask them for recommendations. Listening to the opinions of residents’ families is most advisable.

    Read the small print

    When finally choosing a nursing home, be sure that you fully understand all terms of admission and payment procedures, and exactly what is covered by the fee. The nursing home’s contract, signed upon admission, defines the conditions and the relations between the resident and the nursing home.

    Be sure to claim all financial assistance your parent is entitled to towards paying for the nursing home – from either health funds or private insurance.

    Prepare carefully for the move

    The move to a nursing home is a difficult step for both the elderly person and his family. You must prepare your parent for the transition, and stay with him/ her during the first days in the nursing home. Family members can  take turns visiting, to make sure that visits are fairly frequent in the first few weeks.

    Click here for a helpful questionnaire for choosing institutional care which can help you compare nursing homes.

    The information presented in the English website is partial. For full info please visit our Hebrew website

    (Illustrative image  Unsplash)
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