Choosing the right skilled-nursing facility

Choosing a skilled-nursing facility for yourself or a loved one can be a stressful decision – in large part because it’s difficult to know how to find one that works for you.

How do you know whether a facility is the right fit? How do you know whether it provides the medical care and life-enriching activities you or your loved one deserves?

The key to making an informed decision is to take a tour of the site, according to BJ DiDonato, Director of Community Relations for Regency Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Wilmington, Delaware and Regal Heights Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Hockessin, Delaware.

“They must take a tour of the facility,” DiDonato stressed. “A tour allows them to get an idea of the personality and feel of the home.”

Customers will decide in 7 SECONDS from 11 IMPRESSIONS whether they LIKE, DISLIKE OR ARE INDIFFERENT. Those 11 impressions are:

Cleanliness ~ Engaging ~ Credible ~ Knowledgeable ~ Responsive ~ Friendly ~ Helpful Understanding ~ Courteous ~ Confident ~ Professional

During a tour, DiDonato said that potential residents and their loved ones should ask detailed questions of staff members – including the medical director, recreation personnel and physical therapists – to ensure that the facility can provide the right programs and support. Make sure that special services, like physical therapy, are appropriately staffed. If a potential resident is interested in art, for example, make sure that art classes are offered.

They should also make sure that the facility is clean and tidy and use all of their senses – sight, smell, touch and taste – when touring. They can request a visit during meal times and have their own culinary experience or participate in pre-planned activities programs and take in the surroundings.

“We want them to see every bit of the building,” DiDonato said of the open-minded approach of Nationwide Health Care Services, which owns Regency and Regal Heights. She noted that the tour also gives prospective residents a chance to talk with current residents and to see facility personnel in action.

“I believe that every single staff member and volunteer at a facility is an ambassador and must be welcoming and accommodating,” DiDonato said.

The same principles apply, DiDonato added, if patients are planning a short-term stay at a skilled-nursing facility for recovery care. In those cases, prospective patients should also ensure that the facilities they are considering specialize in these types of care. Nationwide’s facilities provide the full range of sub-acute rehabilitation services and are experienced at helping patients recover as quickly as possible.

Another source of information is to look at the website for the facility and if they have social media such as Facebook pages. The social media pages give a good insight into the daily activities, ongoing events and special interests of the facility.

Nationwide Health Care facilities will happily give tours to those who arrive without an appointment, but it is a good idea to call ahead and schedule a tour. Ms. DiDonato can be reached directly at (302) 598-8898 or by calling Regency Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center at (302)654-8400 and Regal Heights Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center at (302)998-0181.