If you have an older loved one in your family who is struggling to take care of themselves, you’re faced with an enormous problem. Most families don’t have the resources to provide constant care in-home, so choosing a nursing home in St. Louis is often seen as the best solution.
However, there are many nursing facilities in St. Louis, and they can vary wildly in quality. Plus, there are far too many reports of poorly run nursing homes. So how can you find a home for your elderly family member which will treat them with love, respect, and compassion, while also providing convenient care?
These are the most important things to look for when you’re researching your options.
Seven Signs ofa Great St. Louis Nursing Home
1. They provide the type of care needed
Not all nursing homes provide the same care options, and some specialize in certain conditions. Some are nursing and rehabilitation centers, focused largely on physical disabilities, while others focus on providing mental and emotional support for people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Some allow large degrees of personal freedom; others are intended for people who’ve entirely lost the ability to care for themselves.
The first thing to look into is their specialization, and whether it fits your loved one’s needs.
2. Convenient location
There’s a balancing act when choosing between nursing homes in St. Louis. You want the best care for your loved one, but you’ll also want a location that’s convenient for you and the rest of your family to stop by regularly. Location should be an important consideration and makes a good tiebreaker if you’re down to just 2-3 options.
3. Atmosphere on-site
You should always tour a nursing home before committing to it, and it’s best to take a few days or weeks and explore your options over time. Once you’re on the grounds of a nursing home, pay attention to the atmosphere and attitudes of both the staff and the residents. Do the staff seem happy? Do the residents seem like they enjoy living there? Be sure to talk to people about their experiences as much as you can.
As a tip, if the nursing home offers both short- and long-term care, be sure to look at both types of rooms. Sometimes the short-term rooms will look and feel much nicer than the long-term rooms, and that’s a red flag that long-term residents may be neglected.
4. Staff levels and staff retention
One of the biggest signs of a bad nursing home is high amounts of staff turnover, and/or difficulty retaining enough staff to do the job. Ask each home how many staff they have, and what the staff-to-resident ratio is. Also, try to inquire into average turnover rates – although you may not get a straight answer.
In this case, try researching the nursing home on job review sites such as Glassdoor or Fairygodboss. Reports from ex-employees can tell you a lotabout how things really operate.
5. Safety features
As you tour each nursing home, keep your eyes open for safety features – or lack thereof. Do all the stairs have sturdy handrails? Do all the fire extinguishers look relatively new and well-maintained? Is there peeling wallpaper, exposed wiring, or other fire hazards? Do residents have a simple and easy way to call for help, if needed?
Maintenance of safety features is often neglected in poorly performing nursing homes. On the other hand, the best St. Louis nursing homes will put a priority on safety.
6. Personal freedom and decision-making
In general, a good nursing home will allow its residents to have as much personal freedom as is reasonable within their circumstances. However, this can be complicated, since it depends on how well each resident is mentally capable of managing their life.
This is something you can learn about while talking to other residents. Do they feel like they still have some control over their lives, and are they given choices in how they spend their time? Pay attention to their answers.
7. Options in activities
How can residents at the nursing home spend their free time? A good nursing home offers plenty of recreational options, depending on the residents’ situations. At the least, there should be plenty of opportunities for socialization. Homes with more autonomous residents also typically offer exercise classes, hobby meetings, game nights, or maybe even ‘field trips’ into town for shopping or movies.
Keeping busy is important when someone is in a St. Louis nursing facility. Avoid homes where residents just stay in their rooms all day, unless it’s medically required.
In short, finding the best nursing homes in St. Louis is difficult – but it’s absolutely possible. Take your time, do your homework, and visit plenty of nursing homes before making your decision!