Who can you consult with when admitting a loved one to a nursing home? Most people turn to the doctor in charge of their loved one’s care. But a study published in The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine suggests that this trusted source may not have the answers the family needs.
The study found that internal medicine residents scored below 50% on a test regarding nursing homes, known as skilled nursing facilities (SNFs)in medical lingo. Even after training, they were still confused about what exactly a skilled nursing facility is, what services it provides, and how it is staffed.
The study’s authors conclude that, “efforts to improve this knowledge are needed to assure proper triage of patients and safe transitions to the SNF.”
As is usually true when making medical decisions, the family should be as involved as possible when transitioning a family member to a skilled nursing facility, rather than leaving all decisions to medical personnel.
The American Medical Directors Association (AMDA) has issued guidelines to help families ensure safe transfers — and successful outcomes — for their loved ones.
They recommend the following 3 steps be the basis for every transfer from a hospital to a skilled nursing facility:
1. The patient’s preferences
Too often, discussions regarding a patient exclude the patient. Be sure to include your loved one in discussions regarding the continuation of their care. This includes discussion — and documentation — of their preferences regarding end-of-life care.
2. Educating the family
Decisions are being made; the family should be sure they understand the reasons for them. For example, why is an SNF being suggested, and not a rehab facility?
3. Prompt communication about medication
Whenever someone is being moved from one facility to another, there is a risk that important information, particularly information about medications, is not communicated thoroughly and promptly.
At Atlantic Coast Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Lakewood, NJ, we pride ourselves on our ability to initiate and maintain communication with the patient’s doctors, their family, and of course the patient themselves. It’s just one of the reasons so many people trust us with the care of their loved ones.
Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 732-364-7100, or by clicking here.