HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - When it comes to choosing the right long-term care facility for our loved ones, you can never be too careful. However, assistant living professionals say it’s common for people to choose the wrong facility.
Executive Director of Provision Living in Hattiesburg Carolyn Katterjohn has been in the assisted living business for 22 years and said it’s common for people to not be aware of their options when it comes to choosing the right long-term care facilities.
She said the first thing she tells people to do is rely on their senses.
“How does it look?” said Katterjohn. “How does it sound? How does it feel? How does it smell? [Ask] all those things. Have a meal.”
Katterjohn said she encourages people to do their research not only on the facility but on the needs of the individual.
“You’ve got a doctor,” said Katterjohn. “You’ve had a doctor all your life, most of these seniors. You need to talk to them. Have your physician start telling you this would be helpful. This is where you are.”
Melissa Parker, Director for the Office of Licensure with the State Health Department, told WDAM in a phone interview that every long-term care facility is licensed with the state and people can compare different facilities through the state’s website.
“You can look to see the last three years of their report,” said Parker. "It’s the report that we do after we do a survey and that survey is done to determine whether or not that facility meets the conditions of participation for medicare and or medicaid.
Katterjohn said ultimately, it all comes down to asking the right questions.
“Just ask how many nurses do you have on site?” said Katterjohn. “How many nurses do you have in a 24-hour period to care for how many residents?”
If there’s still confusion on what to ask, Medicare.gov offers a detailed check list of questions to help the process move along smoothly.