nursing home clients

Essential Questions Potential Nursing Home Clients Need to Know

For many older Americans, identifying suitable long-term care centers can be a challenge. Determining if a given nursing home or other facility offers the desired services and amenities requires a bit of investigation and research. With the small house nursing home model gaining popularity in the long-term healthcare industry, the choices in care are only growing. Potential nursing home clients need to be aware of the factors that influence decisions; in this guide, we will share essential questions to ask of a facility before selecting the right care model for you or your loved ones.

What is the Small House Nursing Home Model?

In your preliminary research into long-term care, you may have run across the term “small house nursing home model”, sometimes referred to as a “small house care model”. According to the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (JAMDA), a small house nursing home is a relatively new concept where nursing home care and services are delivered in a more home-like environment. Hallmarks of this model are more personalized care, consistency in staffing, and the ability to develop meaningful relationships with both staff and fellow residents. 

Other characteristics of small house nursing care facilities include:

  • Private or semi-private bedrooms and bathing facilities
  • Open-concept floor plans, particularly in kitchen and common area layouts
  • Family-style meals
  • Activities and amenities tailored to individual residents 

As aging Americans shun traditional nursing homes in favor of a more at-home environment, the small house model has gained in popularity. This model serves as an attractive option for many seniors and has shown to improve health and wellness outcomes among its residents. 

Evaluating Care Facilities: Critical Questions

Whether you or a family member is interested in a traditional group nursing home or a small house nursing home model, evaluating the choices can be a daunting task. Choosing the right care option is much like buying a home; the choice must match aspects like budget, amenities, features, and levels of care. 

To make it easier, here are several questions to ask before deciding on a care plan:

What type of care setting do you wish to live in? If you have lived alone for a long time, adjusting to a group setting can be difficult. If you prefer the company of others, or wish to have a private space, the care setting of a prospective facility is an important factor.

What are the meal choices? Most nursing homes and independent living facilities offer one or two regular meals a day, while others allow for residents to prepare some of their own meals. In the small house nursing home model, kitchens are typically open for residents and staff may facilitate a daily family-style meal with other residents. Larger group facilities may assign seating or have strict mealtimes; these are factors to consider when choosing the right care model.

Where is the facility located? With nursing homes and independent care facilities available in most American communities, the choices can be overwhelming. To better evaluate the options, think about where you want to live: do you want to remain close to family and friends, or are you interested in seeing a new part of the country? 

Who are the other residents? Comfort in a new care facility is often dependent on the personalities and demographic factors of other residents. In other words, if you have little in common with fellow residents, you may not feel as welcome as you wish. Ask about the ratio of males to females, the percentages of married couples vs. singles, and the ages of residents as you explore your options.

What activities are available to residents? Many seniors wish to remain active as they age. Choosing a facility that meets activity levels and desires is important. Some facilities may have a limited slate of activities, either in the facility or as periodic trips outside the home. Others have a wide range of activity options, including regular trips to libraries, museums, and shopping destinations. 

What are the transportation options? The small house nursing home model often has transportation available to residents, but this is not always a 24-hour option. Other facilities may only offer transportation at certain times, or only to certain locations. Flexibility in transportation availability is a strong selling point for many independent care centers and can influence the decision to live there.

As we age, our preferences and needs change. Choosing the right care model can help address those changes, allowing seniors to lead comfortable, engaging, and fulfilling lives. By asking the above questions, it is easier to find the facility that suits your preferences, whether that is a small house nursing home model or a larger group care facility. 

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.