Part of the Transforming Life as We Age Special Report
What makes a nursing home a good place for you or your parents? While “good” can mean a lot of things, it should include qualities like dignity and self-determination for the people who live there. The Pioneer Network offers tips on how to check for those qualities.
Formed 20 years ago, the nonprofit Pioneer Network is made up of professionals who work in long-term care, people who live in long-term care and families who advocate for them. The network, active nationally and through coalitions in 36 states, belongs to a broad-based movement in long-term care that is sometimes called simply “culture change.” That is a movement away from generic, system-based care and toward more individual, person-directed care. With culture change, residents have a large voice in the care they get and have as many of the freedoms they had in their earlier homes as possible.
You can find out if a nursing home is guided by the principles of culture change by asking specific questions when you visit to take a tour. A few examples:
- Can residents wake up when they want to in the morning?
- How do you get to know the people who live here?
- How do you build a sense of community and give those who live here a voice in how things are done?
- What is the turnover rate for the direct care workers on your staff?
There are 18 questions in all to ask at nursing homes, and a similar set of 16 to ask when looking at assisted living facilities. You can see the questions and the answers to listen for on the Pioneer Network website, where they are also available as downloads.
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