Deciding to pursue long term care for a parent is often no easy feat. If you have recently done so, it’s worth giving yourself a pat on the back and the reassurance you’re making the right choice for you and your loved one. Now, it’s time to start looking at what options are out there. 

As you commence your search for the right care home, it’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed. You can easily narrow your search right away by looking only in the regions you’re willing to travel to. If you’re in the British Columbia tri-city or lower mainland area, Shaughnessy Seniors Community could be a great option for you and your family. After you’ve decided on a location, you’ll want to reach out to gather more information.

If you’re unsure of what questions to ask a long term care home, here are some suggestions to help you feel prepared: 

1. What are the financial and time logistics?

Two good places to start when looking at long term care options for a parent are the financial and time logistics of the transition. When your parent can move into the care home and how much it will cost will undoubtedly factor into your decision. 

It’s a good idea to inquire about the specifics of these questions as well. What’s included in the long term care accommodation cost, how you’ll be billed, and if payment plans or financial assistance are available will help you get a well-rounded concept of the financial commitment. As care homes can often have long waitlists, asking for a time estimate or Respite Program options will allow you to gauge if this will meet your parents’ needs. While you are covering these initial logistical questions, you can also ask if and when you would be able to visit the home

2. How is the quality of the facility measured?

It’s important your parent be comfortable and safe during their time in long term care. Asking about the quality of the care home suites and facilities will initiate a conversation that will allow you to gather the information you need about the physical state of the home. 

First and foremost, you’ll want to ensure the care facility maintains regular upkeep and is clean and hygienic for your parent. You will also want to know if it’s quiet, what the rooms and layout look and feel like, and if they have the proper safety measures and equipment (clearly marked signs, sturdy handrails etc.). The quality of the long term care home also includes the meal program (Is it fresh and nutritious?), and the state of any communal areas (Do they feel spacious? Are they clean and comfortable?). 

If these questions spark any other curiosities or concerns, be sure to ask about them.

3. Will my parent be receiving high-calibre care?

Unfortunately not all long term care is created equal, so it’s vital to ask questions about the level of care when looking at care home facilities. You can begin with the more technical questions. Ask if the facility is accredited and if the care services are meeting standards mandated by provincial legislation, like those in the Park Place family. It’s also worthwhile to ask questions about the staff. Inquire about their credentials, what the staff-to-resident ratio is, how long most employees have worked there, and if it changes during overnight shifts, holidays, or weekends. 

Depending on your parents’ condition, you may also want to ask if the home has the experience and resources to manage the specific type of care your loved one requires. If your parent has very specialized needs, it’s important to ask how informed staff will keep you and other family members and how involved you will be in their long term care plan. 

4. How much autonomy will my parent be able to maintain?

It will likely mean a lot to know how much independence and dignity your parent will be able to maintain while in long term care. If they have minimal physical or mental capabilities there will, of course, be limits to their autonomy. But, it can go a long way to know if they’ll be able to make decisions about their daily schedule and if they can bring items from home to personalize their space. 

Programs like the unique Residents Day Plan we implement at Shaughnessy Seniors Community will give your parent a voice and help you to feel confident placing them in long term care. You can also inquire about the visitation schedule so you’ll know how much freedom you and your parent will have to spend time together. 

5. What activities and amenities are available at the care home? 

Just because your parent requires full-time care, does not mean they shouldn’t have access to social and recreational activities like everyone else. These activities are crucial to maintaining your parents’ well-being and happiness during their stay. You can ask to view an activity calendar or view a list of what will be offered to your parent while in long term care. 

Specific therapy programs and amenities within the nursing home are also necessary to learn about. You can ask how your parents’ condition would typically be approached, and even request to review a detailed map or do a virtual tour of the long term care facility. This will give you a better idea of what amenities are available on-site for them. 

Knowing what questions to ask when searching for long term care for a parent can feel daunting. However, as their loved one you can use your best judgment and the tips above to make a confident choice. At Shaughnessy Seniors Community, we take pride in our specialized and personalized care approach so your parent can enjoy their life despite age-related health issues.