What to Consider When Touring a Memory Care Facility
Do you have to transfer your loved one to memory care? Watching your loved one suffer from dementia is never easy.
You would like to think a memory care facility has all of the tools essential to supporting your loved one. But no two memory care facilities are created equally. Some facilities provide better care and can help your loved one improve.
The best way to ensure you find the best facility is touring different ones. But how do you know which facility is the best? And how do you know your loved one will enjoy the facility? Here’s what makes a memory care facility a quality place.
Is a Medical Director on Staff?
Memory care staff is usually comprised of nurses who help their citizens. This includes bathing them, helping them move around, feeding them, and assisting family members.
But these nurses aren’t usually trained to perform serious medical care.
Therefore, ask is a medical director is on staff.
A medical director can provide immediate care and can make any changes to your loved one’s daily care. A medical director will put your loved one in the best position to benefit their mental and physical health.
Are RNs or LPNs On Staff? And for How Long?
There are always nurses on staff, but each has different qualifications. This affects how they can treat your loved one. Some staff members are only qualified to handle basic tasks, such as dressing or feeding your loved one.
RNs and LPNs can handle more duties.
RNs, or Registered Nurse — an RN can assist with physical and medical needs.
This includes administering medication and treatments, overseeing medical plans, and identifying any medical conditions. The RN also oversees the LPN.
LPNs, or Licensed Practical Nurse — is managed by the RN. Usually does direct bedside care. They are responsible for simple tasks such as personal hygiene and more complex tasks such as checking their vitals.
The highest-quality facilities will usually have both. But your loved one may have limited access to these professionals. Some may only see registered nurses for certain parts of the day while other facilities offer 24-hour nursing care.
Ask each facility is they have a nurse on staff and how long your loved one will see them.
The Staffing Ratio
Regardless of the number of nurses the facility offers, you need to ensure there will be staff with your loved one at all times. This is vital for memory care patients; they need extra care and attention.
With plenty of staff watching your loved one, they will be able to attend to their every need.
While touring facilities, ask about the staff-to-patient ratio. Also, make sure your loved one gets round-the-clock care.
Available Medical Services
If something happens to your loved one, the last thing you need is an emergency room trip. But certain facilities offer medical services to avoid the ER trip altogether.
High-quality facilities usually offer:
- Physical Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Home Health
While on your tour, ask if the facility offers medical services. If so, ask which services they provide.
Even with a nursing degree, employees are expected to get trained and provide specialized care for memory loss patients. You’ll be surprised how many memory care employees are underqualified.
If the facility can provide this information, ask about staff training.
In addition, ask if they require ongoing or annual training. If they document training, ask to see the documents. This is the best way to ensure the staff is providing the best care.
Each facility has different policies. If you don’t see the policies on your tour, ask to see a contract. Most facilities have policies pertaining to different subjects. These include:
- Patient stay
- End-of-life care (if they don’t provide hospice)
- What they medical services they can and cannot provide
- The policy for emergencies and hospital visits
- Will any staff members accompany your loved one outside of the facility
- Will the facility notify you about any changes or emergencies
- Discharge policy
- Are costs all-inclusive?
- Are there are extra fees?
- Can they go back home?
Ask these questions during your tour and discover some basic facility policies.
Entertainment and Outings
Even though your loved one is losing their memory and is living in a medical facility, they do deserve to have a little fun.
Most facilities offer some entertainment, such as TV and music. Some facilities take entertainment a step farther and improve their memory, such as by playing trivia and other participation games.
Some facilities take them out on regular outings. This can be small daily activities, such as walking around the facility and even a little bit of exercise.
Other facilities offer regular outings, such as seeing a movie or going to a restaurant.
This is an important aspect of a memory care facility. Ask if they offer daily activities and what they are. Ask if they host outings and how often. When they do outings, ask where they go and if you can accompany the group.
Entertainment may not be comfortable with you, especially if you’re unsure of your loved one being out in public. Great facilities offer entertainment for these kinds of patients.
This type of care is often private or personalized, so find out what the facility offers.
Use Your Instinct
When touring memory care facilities, they may emphasize some of the better aspects of their company and hide their downfalls. Unfortunately, you may not be able to pull out their problems immediately.
When choosing a memory care facility, use your instinct and choose the one you’re most comfortable with.
Time to Choose a Memory Care Facility
It’s never easy to put a loved one in a memory care facility. But you need to make the best of the situation and choose the best facility.
When you tour a facility, take your time and get all of the essential information. Ask questions concerning their staff, care, and activities. If you’re still unsure of your selection, use your best judgment.
Are you looking for the best memory care facility? If you’re in Largo, come take a tour.