Nursing homes across the United States provide outstanding care and support for seniors. These facilities have a duty to provide a high level of care – a level that is determined by myriad laws and business practices. Not all nursing homes are the same, of course, and certain facilities stand out as leaders in the aging healthcare sector. As a fundamental component of nursing home risk management, facility owners and managers must have an understanding of the characteristics that define a great nursing home. In this guide, we will explore the five leading factors, helping both residents and facility stakeholders to gauge the performance and quality of nursing home facilities.
Sheer Variety in Senior Care Facilities
Nursing homes are not the only senior care facilities available to aging U.S. populations. Even within nursing homes, there are varying levels of care and support. These facilities often go by names like senior care centers, memory care centers, enriched housing, or senior resident homes. There are also similar healthcare options, including skilled care facilities, assisted living facilities (ALFs), and long-term retirement care homes. Each type of facility employs different personnel, with specialized care centers requiring advanced training and certification of caregivers. As part of nursing home risk management, it is imperative that facility managers address staffing with qualified individuals and the services or care they provide. Prospective residents and their family members must also carefully assess their own needs and preferences before selecting the right facility.
Five Characteristics of a Great Nursing Home
Now that we have a basic understanding of the types of senior care centers available, it is time to dive into the qualities or characteristics that help great nursing homes stand out from the pack.
- Focus on the individual. Nursing homes may be freshly-renovated and filled with creature comforts. These attributes alone do not signify quality; rather, it is how individual residents are treated that makes the difference. Quality nursing homes put an emphasis on each resident’s unique needs while creating an inviting, safe, and home-like living environment.
- Offering choices to residents. Every nursing home is different, with some enforcing strict rules and others being more relaxed in terms of the daily activities and preferences of residents. Here, choice is a crucial characteristic; facilities that allow residents to make their own choices such as bedtimes, meal times, and activities are generally thought of as more appealing. Residents value some level of independence, and providing flexibility helps them to feel more at home.
- Ensuring adequate and quality staffing. Long-term care facilities have long been plagued by high turnover rates and difficulties in maintaining adequate staffing. Qualified caregivers can also sometimes be in short supply. Good facilities address staffing as part of nursing home risk management by recruiting top talent, providing competitive pay rates, and seeking the help of specialists for outstanding senior care.
- Flexibility in visiting hours. The better nursing homes in the United States know that family members desire time with their loved ones. Life sometimes gets in the way, however, and work or personal demands may not mesh with posted visiting hours. These nursing homes will implement open or flexible visiting hours, giving residents and their families ample time to remain close. Some of the best homes will provide special accommodations for visitors, including overnight stays when residents need additional support.
- A range of meaningful and fulfilling activities. Nursing homes used to be places where seniors would be housed for end-of-life care, and little consideration was given to providing activities for them. Better nursing homes know that a range of activities is important, both for physical and mental wellness of residents. The best facilities offer both indoor and outdoor activities, excursions to shopping or entertainment, and in-house exercise and yoga programs. Some facilities even allow pets, or may partner with local animal shelters to bring in pets for therapy purposes. Volunteer programs with youth groups can engage residents’ minds, allowing them to feel more a part of a rich and vibrant community.
Nursing home risk management is a complex set of strategies and tools. Providing expert medical care and lifestyle support is only one of those strategies. With the above characteristics in mind, nursing homes can implement quality programs and attributes that make their facilities more appealing and more home-like. This can greatly improve the quality of life for residents, staff, and visitors alike.
About Caitlin Morgan
Caitlin Morgan specializes in insuring assisted living facilities and nursing homes and can assist you in providing insurance and risk management services for this niche market. Give us a call to learn more about our programs at (877) 226-1027.