In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson discusses a practical guide for choosing a long-term care facility.
Hi! I’m Wes Coulson from Dent-Coulson Elder Law, proudly serving clients throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area and beyond. I’d like to welcome you to our Elder Law and Estate Planning Minute. We do these to help educate people, give them some little tips, and especially to let them know the questions they need to ask, things that they’ve maybe not thought of. Our thought on that is that we can help you best if you realize the things that you need help and that we can help you with. So I hope you enjoy. Thanks!
Today I want to give you my practical guide for choosing a long-term care facility. There are ratings, things that you can find, Medicare, in fact, has one, and they can be somewhat helpful, but the system can also gamed. So I’m not sure that they’re especially the most reliable.
Here is what I would do, in choosing a long-term care facility for a loved one. First, I would go in, and realize, that this is not the Ritz-Carlton that they’re staying at for a week of vacation, this is where they are going to live. If they’ve not lived in a fancy home, they’re not necessarily going to be more comfortable living in a fancier facility. That’s not the most important thing.
What are the most important things? Well, first of all, it needs to look and smell clean. Just like your own home. That’s something of a matter of pride, and being sanitary is very important. The next thing I would do, is to ask how long the administrator has been in place, and how much staff turnover they have had in the last year and a half. An administrator in place for a long time means that they have their stuff together, they’re well organized, otherwise, either the administrator would move on or the administrator would get moved on. And staff turnover tells you whether people like going to work there. If they’ve had little staff turnover that means that people are happy about their jobs, and that also speaks to a well run place.
Finally, what I would do, would be to visit at a time that is kind of unpredictable for them. Look around, see how things are going. And then, kind of gently, knock on a few doors. Especially in doors where people may have visitors and ask, ask the residents, ask the visitors. Ask the residents, “How do you like it here? Are they taking good care of you?” And ask the same thing of family members. And, if you catch them a little bit off guard, I think you are going to get candid responses. And I think if you do that, you’ll be happy with your choice.
No guarantees, but it’s a good, practical way of going about the process. Thanks!
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