There are many factors that go into the choice of an alternate care facility. We often recommend that your loved one move to a facility near family or friends. The presence of visitors and others to monitor care is critically important. If there are no available family or friends, your ALCM can be the liaison and surrogate family.
We also suggest that you consider your loved one’s religious or ethnic preferences. Word-of-mouth reports from others are useful as well—but take these with a word of caution: Two families or individuals can have vastly different experiences with the same facility, even at the same time. We have many stories of clients with positive and negative experiences at the same facility. An ALCM can also offer guidance for facilities to be considered for your loved one.
After identifying possible locations, you can check your state’s Department of Public Health website to locate annual reports on nursing homes. In Massachusetts, you can find these on the Health and Human Services website, following the link for Nursing Home Survey Performance Tool. The federal Medicare website also offers information and comparisons. The Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs (617-727-7750) has an assisted living ombudsman program which may offer some guidance regarding facility complaints.
It is important to realize, however, that these reports are snapshots in time. The decision makers (including your elder, as appropriate) should visit those facilities you are considering. It’s a good idea to take the formal tour with an admissions representative and then go back at a different time of day to get an informal sense of daily operations.