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Sunday, December 08, 2019

It’s never an easy decision with which to come to terms. We would all like to honor our parents and elderly loved ones by keeping them at home with their families and providing them with the love and care they need. But oftentimes things get to a point where we simply can’t do for our loved ones all that they need. If that time should come to your household, there are definite steps you should take to ensure that you make the right decision, one that meets the needs of your loved one as well as those of you and your family.

To begin with, narrow down your potential choices by geography. Yours. You will be the person who most often visits and who will be present to the family member as well as the staff and administration of the facility, so make it as easy on yourself as possible.

Next, consider the level of care your loved one requires, paying special attention to the therapy and rehabilitation unit. The elderly need regular physical activity to maintain balance, range of motion, and muscle tone, and that’s best provided by physical therapy professionals. If you’re satisfied, then look at the environment next. Start with the accommodations (both resident rooms and common areas) and the culture of the community. Does the facility offer appropriate living space, in private or semi-private rooms? Are those rooms furnished and appointed in a manner that will help your loved one feel at home? And take into account the cultural community. New residents find it much easier to make friends in their new community when there are shared cultural backgrounds and experiences among the residents.

The next step is to visit any facilities you are still considering. Stop in unannounced and ask to speak with an admissions coordinator and to take a tour of the facility. While there, ask to meet the Administrator and the Director of Nursing to satisfy yourself as to the level of care and service you can expect. Ask to see the facility’s most recent Department of Health Survey results. These results are also easily attainable on the internet. Be sure to visit the Physical Therapy unit and inquire about the hours, frequency of scheduled therapy sessions, and whether or not residents enjoy the benefit of individually prepared care plans. If there are language issues, ask whether or not the facility has sufficient staff fluent in your loved one’s preferred language.

Finally, breathe easy. Although it’s a major decision moving a loved one into a rehabilitation center or nursing home, it is sometimes the only decision that ensures the safety and well-being of a parent or a family member. Therefore, relax and be confident in your choice of facilities. Being involved in the care of your family member is the most crucial aspect of ensuring that their stay is a rewarding one. Visit often, ask questions, and stay involved. Wishing you the best of luck with your decision.

David Greenberg, LNHA, MPA is the Administrator of Boro Park Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare, a 504-bed skilled nursing facility in Brooklyn, NY. He has been a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator in both NY and NJ for the past 18 years. David lives with his wife Shira and 4 children in Bergenfield. He can be reached at [email protected]

By David Greenberg, LNHA, MPA