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I am taking a tour of a Personal Care Home that my mom may move into next week if everything goes well. It is my first tour of a place for her, I know the basic questions but is there anything that maybe you didn't ask but wish you did when you were researching places?

My mom is 67 and has MS. She is now unable to stand and transfer herself so she now needs assistance with getting washed, dressed and moved from her scooter to bed or toilet.

This personal care home is a small place, 5 bedroom, 3 baths. I feel the small environment will be more comfortable for her, but I am nervous at the same time because since the staff is low, if there is only one person on and they don't do their work, there is no one else to fall upon.

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Geez! 5:20 ratio is 1:4. And they cheat on the numbers at the places I have visited. Every employee is counted, kitchen staff, housekeeping, directors, rn's and caregivers. An able, trained body counts. Some places make a point of telling you that all staff are trained in dementia care. I wonder if that is required for their licensing to reach the ratios required by the state.
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One thing I'd do is look at the patients do they look clean, well groomed, and happy. and are they awake? If they are getting their meds some may be sleepy but by far they should be at least responsive to your conversation. Ask them how they are? Ask them do they like the food and activities? Ask about staff? The residents are the best ones to give you the answers you seek. Best of luck.
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I wish.The dementia wards deserve so much more.They can't do their jobs and keep track of people.If 2 are giving baths and ten are wandering it makes for scary business.That is why I try to go every day if I can.It's hard...very.
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That is a terrible ratio! Her the best places try to maintain 1:5 or 6, for memory care.
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Unfortunately that is the wait is in in Ontario Mallory,even in the best homes.
5 : 20+ ratio of caregivers to residents. :/
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Just re-read the OP. Wow I would never choose a place that had only 1 person on, at times. Even if it is only 5 residents, what if there were a fire or tornado? One person cannot do it all. And what if they get sick? Little alarm bells in my head .
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I'm sorry I didn't read that your Mother has MS, and is quite young.
Yes you need to find a place where they are able to deal with the physicality of her specific needs.
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Where my Mom has been since Feb.28(in Ontario), is actually a friendly and caring place, yet most Long Term Care facilities here, are short staffed.1 nurse per shift, with 3-4 personal support workers to assist.That's for 20+ residents.
I think it all depends on your loved one's needs, and level of dementia if any, also ability to walk of course.If so, I would ask if her room can be closer to the nursing station, rather than far away.
With my Mom she hates everything: the food, her room, the people.
I her defence the food isn't great.Her room is fine, but not home.The people have severe dementia.They wander and steal her things.She doesn't understand why she can't talk to them and make them understand that they need to stay out of her room.
Mom has short term memory loss due to a stroke but it quite lucid and doesn't get why she can't go home.
It really depends on your mom's mind-set, health, and physical capabilities as to the questions you need to ask.
Also when does a doctor visit?
What about dental and vision?
Do they believe in restraining individuals?
What is their belief if Mom refuses meds?
Is there a dietician, if Mom won't eat?
Are you able to bring in extra care givers if you can't be present?
Yes...many many questions... *hugs* B
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I would take what the residents might say about the place with a grain of salt... you could talk to one who is totally unhappy with the place and who will slam it left and right, but that's because the resident wants to be back living in their own home or their grown child's home. And/or some of the other residents have early stage of dementia and will say anything just to get attention.
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I hear what terry jack is saying, but in my (limited) experience, I could not just walk in off . the street to any of the ALF I looked.at....they had a secure entrance with a guard, sign in, show ID, etc. I actually liked that (major metro.area) but maybe the six-pack model is different?
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go without announcing you are coming. Go during a meal time, look at the residents; are they clean and well groomed, do they have appropriate clothing, does anyone need assistance they are not receiving? are residents just sitting around or are they busy. Does the facility have an odor, are the floors clear of hazards. Speak with a few residents, what do they say about their stay? Is the meal appealing, are substitutes being offered when a resident doesn't like a food item?
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Also, ask yourself why this may be the only care home that has a vacancy. Under what conditions would they want your Mom to leave. I have a friend that went through three care homes before realizing that the Mom needed a higher level of care than could be provided in a facility like this. They ended up moving Mom to a larger facility because of her care level need.
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Ask about communication. How responsive are they when you call. How quick to answer and how quick to call you back. Can you call 24/7 to check on her? Can you talk to her on the phone, any time of the day or night? Can she call you any time?
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Take your time. Visit several, make notes before-during-after of your impressions.
Most of all, READ THE FINE PRINT. Do not sign up for a place before understanding EXACTLY what the costs are--are they going to increase (yes) and how often (monthly? yearly?). Is it a month-to-month lease? When she dies, do they pro-rate for a partial month (some places charge the whole month plus the next month). Find out what services are, and are NOT included.
Do not check your mom into a place assuming your duties are over.....they will change but to different duties.
Instead of worrying about her leaving her front door unlocked, you will be worrying about the background checks of their 6th new employee this year.
You will STILL be responsible for taking mom to all her doctor's appointments, as well as scheduling them.
There is NO place that will do everything for your parent. You will still need to be VERY active in her life. A good facility will respect that your role is important and seek your help, instead of trying to tell you what you ought to be doing (i.e. paying more & more all the time).
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I would not place my loved one at the firat and only place I have looked at. It is an education and important to understand the options out there. Before your visit arrange for tours of other sorts of facilities and care homes. Check the ratings of the places you visit online. There are excellent care homes and others not so good. How did you find this place?
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Ask for current and past family contact info. Talk with current alert residents. Tour during meal times and observe what they are being fed. Ask who their professional providers are and call them directly for a opinion!
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Thank you so much for the responses, it really helps. When I went to look for the one for my mom I discovered that it is newly opening. She would be the first resident there, another coming on May 1st and another later in May. Ratio is 6 residents to 1 LNA. The place looked nice and spacious. The owner gave me the address to another one of his personal care homes so I could visit, so I did. Residents were in the living area, although they seemed shy and scattered when they saw us. Two residents were friendly and said hi. The place seemed cleaned and taken care of for the most part. The only problem with the place I looked at is that it is not fully wheelchair accessible, and my mom is in a scooter. I am going to visit again with one of her wheelchairs (since we can't get her there until she moves) to see if it will work. I hope so, it is the only local one with an opening and she is ready to get out of her rehab/soon to be long term nursing home for her if we don't find her another home soon.

The suggestions to become friendly with staff and other residents is very helpful. I bake often and will bring baked goods to share with everyone. I have two (soon to be three) young children so as long as the people like kids that always breaks the ice with strangers.
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Observe to see if the residents are in the family room or are they all tucked in the bedrooms? They should be out in the family room, and do taste the food, and stay for dinner or lunch....Strike up conversations with caretakers, have coffee with them in the facility. Walk about the premises, backyard. see seating arrangements at dinner table, treat them like extended family, eat and talk with everyone... Everyone wants to talk to someone..... Be nice content, ask if you can bring the family dog in for a visit. I don't ask, I just bring her in....WAtch amoveie with them, loook at the kitchen ware. It's your mom's place now too, do they need anything? Spatula, Pots pans? Large sppons? Do you have anything you don't need, but the home might be able to use???? Patio chairs? I put moms out, now they are old and need to be replaced...
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We call them 6 PACKS. 6 residents and 2 caretakers. Czretakes are getting more and more lax...burnout? They seem to be changing more often at Moms place. Aunts place is pretty consistent. I love aunts place better. Wish I could move mom, but it's full. Ask what meals they have. How often they wash, clean, and do they help with dental hygene? DO WALK IN UNEXPECTEDLY. DO OBSERVE how long it takes them to answer the door. DO OFFER TREATS TO ALL WHO LIVE THERE, EVEN CARETAKERS, You want to make sure they are happy too. Doors and exits have audible system?Mom escaped, and Hospice came in to give her a bath, but she wasn't around. THAT WAS NOT GOOD. Now they are well aware of their faults....Social Services, police, and everyone is looking at that house......Do LOOK IN THE REFRIGERATOR, DO LOOK AT EVERYONE'S HEALTH. Do ask other residents and their family how they like the place, how long they have been there, and how long have the caretakers been there, or do they switch out too often?????? How much is the rent? ARe all safety regulations and official papers in place? DIET? ETC ETC..... Good luck...OH, most of the homes have wheel chair ramps in front. Walk and knock, and ask if they are a facility, and can you take a tour right now?///You will know immediatly if it is a 6 pack.... They should not have to hide anything and you should be able to tour quickly....Notices should be up about visiting hours etc...
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Is your Mom an exit seeker?The staff is always trying to locate someone.I always seem to know where they are.
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A staff ratio of 5 to 1 is exceptionally good. Ask how staff is supervised. Ask how often nurses come by. Talk to the residents themselves. Observe a meal, sample one. How do they transport residents? What are the recreational options? Ask to see licenses. Look for dirt, dust, messes.
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Express this concern during your tour. And maybe ask what the assistance response time is. 3 minutes? 5 minutes? 10 minutes?

Good luck!
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