Questions to Ask When Visiting Skilled Nursing FacilitiesBrandermill Woods independent living angle

Questions to Ask When Visiting Skilled Nursing Facilities

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

If you're visiting Skilled Nursing communities for the first time, you may have questions or concerns you wish to address. This is normal. Families often navigate this process alone and want to ensure their loved one is in good hands. Skilled Nursing communities also differ vastly in the services, staff training, and amenities they offer, emphasizing the importance of asking questions to make informed decisions. 

However, it can be difficult knowing the right questions to ask. Explore our list of top questions to ask Skilled Nursing communities to help you choose an option aligning with your needs. 

Is Your Facility Licensed?

Skilled Nursing communities must meet state and federal requirements to receive licensure. If you're seriously considering a community, confirm it has a valid license and complies with any necessary laws or regulations. 

What Does Your Facility Provide Outside of Basic Care Needs?

Skilled Nursing communities provide 24-hour medical monitoring, personal care assistance, and emergency medical care, but many also offer specialty services or amenities. For example, Skilled Nursing residents at Brandermill Woods have access to a comprehensive range of services and amenities, including:

  • Rehabilitative therapies
  • Medication administration
  • Incontinence management
  • Dietary management
  • Restaurant-style dining
  • Scheduled transportation for trips and appointments
  • An outdoor courtyard
  • 24-hour security
  • An on-site beauty parlor

Is Your Facility's Most Recent Survey or Inspection Report Accessible?

Skilled Nursing communities receive routine surveys or inspections to ensure resident health and safety. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services contract with each state to perform on-site inspections and assign quality star ratings based on their findings. Ask for a copy of the community's most recent inspection report. If they don't have one, ask where you can access this information. 

Is Your Facility Medicare- and Medicaid-Certified?

This question is especially important if you plan on using Medicare or Medicaid to reduce care costs. Not all communities have Medicare or Medicaid certification, and some only accept a certain number of residents using these benefits. Confirm a certified community is still accepting new residents before committing to it. 

What Other Types of Insurance Does Your Facility Accept?

Some private health insurance plans cover certain medical services offered at Skilled Nursing communities. Verify which providers a community accepts and whether it allows residents to use multiple forms of insurance toward care costs. This can reduce your out-of-pocket responsibility.  

What Is Your Daily Rate?

Skilled Nursing care can be expensive, and it's important to find a community that aligns with your budget. Ask about daily fees and whether the community offers fixed weekly or monthly rates for extended stays. This can help you budget appropriately for the duration of your care. For example, Brandermill Woods adjusts fees depending on the floor plan and needed services. 

Has Your License Ever Been Revoked?

If a community answers yes to this question, ask for follow-up information, including why its license was revoked, for how long, and when it was reinstated. You can also inquire about policy or procedure updates the community has incorporated since the situation happened. This illuminates whether it's actively taking steps to improve its quality of care. 

Do You Give Your Residents or Their Families Surveys or Questionnaires?

A community asking for feedback implies it cares about maintaining a positive reputation, high-quality care, and resident satisfaction. Ask if the community conducts resident or family surveys and whether you can review their answers. Reading reviews from past residents can help you gauge how committed a community is to ensuring safety and well-being. 

Are There Extra Charges for Other Services?

Fixed rates at Skilled Nursing communities often include housing, meals, basic care services, and use of community amenities. However, certain services, such as beauty care, transportation, wellness programs, or advanced medical care, may incur additional fees. Check which services cost extra to confirm whether a community's pricing aligns with your budget. 

What Is Your Overall Star Rating?

Skilled Nursing communities are rated based on a five-star quality rating system, with five being above average and one falling below average. These ratings provide insight into the quality of a community's health measures, service offerings, and staff training. If a community has a low star rating, ask about weak spots and whether it's taken measures to improve its quality of care. 

Does Your Facility Provide Transportation for Appointments?

Skilled Nursing communities commonly offer transportation to medical appointments, especially if they don't offer a service their residents need. Some communities may charge extra for transportation, making it important to ask for this information if you need to attend off-site appointments frequently.

Does a Family Member Need to Accompany Me to Appointments, or Will A Nurse Be Provided?

If you need assistance with mobility or remembering important medical information, ask the community whether it can provide a nurse or other trained staff member to accompany you to appointments. This is especially pertinent if you don't have a family member available to help you. 

How Is the Relationship Between Staff and Residents?

Skilled Nursing staff members should maintain compassionate, respectful demeanors while ensuring their residents' personal and medical needs are met. Verify how a community trains its staff to interact with residents and whether there are repercussions for straying from that training. You can also ask about the community's resident rights or safety policies. 

Has Staff Received Additional Training in Dementia Care?

If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia, access to staff specially trained in dementia care can enhance safety. At Brandermill Woods, we ensure staff employed in our Memory Care community, The Holly Inn, receives specialized training in common symptoms associated with dementia, cognitive therapies, and security measures to provide high-quality care. 

What Is the Staff-to-Resident Ratio?

Quality of care can suffer when a small number of nurses are assigned more residents than they can adequately accommodate. Ask about staff-to-resident ratios during the day and overnight to ensure a community employs proper levels of staffing. Additionally, inquiring about overtime or double shifts can illuminate whether staff is overworked, which can also reduce quality of care. 

Schedule a Visit With Brandermill Woods

When visiting Skilled Nursing communities, it's important to have your questions answered to enable informed decision-making. At Brandermill Woods, we understand how crucial it is to find a supportive, caring environment to maintain your loved one's health and well-being. Contact us today by calling (804) 621-7328 to schedule an in-person visit. We're always happy to answer your questions.