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Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Seven Things to Look Out for When Choosing a Dementia Care Facility

Making the decision to place a loved one in a dementia care facility is an emotional and difficult process. Choosing the right facility for a dementia patient is one of the top priorities for many families. Because the process can be overwhelming, it helps to have an advocate on your side who understands the process and who has experience dealing with long-term care for dementia patients. Our California long term care planning lawyers can give you direction and guidance in the things you want to look for when you are searching for a dementia care facility.

Seven Important Questions to Ask About a Dementia Care Facility

Below are seven things a family should consider when choosing a long-term care facility for their loved one.

  1. What levels of dementia does the facility handle?
  2. Dementia patients can go through many levels of dementia over the course of their care. Some facilities may only accommodate patients in the initial stages of dementia. If you are searching for a permanent, long-term care facility, you want to choose a facility that provides care for patients during all stages of dementia.

  3. Do residents share rooms?
  4. For some patients, it may be important for the patient to have his or her own living quarters, especially during the initial stages of dementia. Discussing these preferences with your family member is important to facilitate a smooth transition to a care facility.

  5. What are the safety protocols for the facility?
  6. You need to discuss with the facility the methods it uses to keep residents secure and safe. Are there key codes for exterior doors? How are visitors screened prior to entry? Who has access to the residents’ rooms? In addition, you should also address personal safety concerns such as lighting, non-slip floor surfaces, handrails in the bathrooms, etc.

  7. Who is responsible for conducting assessments?
  8. It is important to check the credentials of the person who will be in charge of performing cognitive and physical assessments for your loved one. You want to ensure that the person overseeing your loved one’s dementia treatment and care has the skills and experience necessary to treat patients at all stages of dementia. Also, you want to confirm that assessments are performed at regular intervals to ensure the proper steps are taken to care for and protect your family member.

  9. How are staff members screened and trained?
  10. Staff members are a crucial element of your loved one’s daily care. To ensure the safety and comfort of your loved one, you need a facility that hires staff members who have experience caring for dementia patients. Ask the facility about the training and educational requirements for staff members. In addition, you should look for a facility that has an RN, CNA, and LVN on staff. In an ideal situation, the staff-to-resident ratio should be no more than 1 to 7, especially for patients in the later stages of dementia. You should also ask about the screening process for staff members, including background checks.

  11. What is the facility’s policy on the use of chemical and physical restraints?
  12. In some cases, it may be necessary to restrain a patient for his or her safety. However, a patient should not be restrained because it is easier for the staff members. You should discuss the facility’s restraint policies thoroughly with the management and keep a very close check to make sure your loved one is not being restrained unnecessarily.

  13. How does the facility address the daily needs of the residents?
  14. For dementia patients, the requirements for care differ from the requirements in other long-term care facilities. Questions that may help you address this concern include: What resources does the facility utilize to engage a patient’s long-term memory? Does the facility have daily activities that encourage residents to engage with others and remain physically active? What methods are utilized to encourage residents to eat a healthy diet? Does the facility’s layout help prevent residents from becoming confused or lost? Do doors and rooms have labels that feature colors, words, and pictures to help residents identify their location?

Working with a Dementia Care Professional

It can be helpful to discuss your concerns with your loved one’s health care provider. Providers with experience in treating patients with dementia can provide a checklist of items you need to address when you are searching for a dementia care facility. In addition, the provider can help you address specific needs that your family member may have that might require a facility with a specific level or type of care.

Contact a California Long-Term Care Planning Lawyer

It is important to plan for the future care of a family member who has been diagnosed with dementia. In addition to the healthcare and personal care needs, your family member will have financial needs that must be met. A California long-term care planning lawyer can help you make arrangements to ensure that your loved one has the future care and support he or she needs. Call our team today for more information or to set up an appointment.


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