Offering a fresh approach to nursing home care

Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home in Ireland including a checklist

Helathcare Assistant in Evergreen Care uniform in front of reception area in a nursing home

Choosing the right nursing home for a loved one is a crucial decision, and it is really important to get it right, for the sake of your loved one and the whole family.

Being responsible for choosing a nursing home can certainly bring about some trepidation. If you haven’t done this before, you can be forgiven for wondering if you are going about it the right way. This article aims to help you with that and ensure you and your family are as content as you can be that you have gone about your decision in the right way.

What is a Nursing Home?

Simply put, nursing homes are a ‘home from home’ that employ specialist, caring staff to support your loved one in their daily living requirements. A nursing home should enable your loved one live a fulfilling life within a friendly, community environment.

Nursing homes provide the specialist care and support suited to your loved one’s daily living requirements. Meeting your care requirements will be a dedicated, committed and caring team. They will implement a care plan designed around your health and general needs. While excellent levels of care are provided, it is important to consider which home will best suit your daily living and healthcare requirements.

You have the right to choose where you wish to live. Resident choice is enshrined in the legislation governing the Nursing Home Support Scheme, commonly known as Fair Deal. It is the state support mechanism that has been designed to make nursing home care affordable. Once an applicant is approved under the scheme, it’s their choice as to which home they want to live in.

How to go about Choosing a Nursing Home

Choosing a nursing home is an important decision. Before you start to examine the range of nursing homes available to you, it’s a good idea to make a list of the ideal attributes you want from the nursing home. If you are assisting someone to move into a nursing home, involve them in making the decision as much as possible. If they are not able to communicate, it is important to bear their values and preferences in mind.

Very often the decision is a whole family one, so there can often be a number of people that have to be brought along, kept informed and opinions canvassed.

The attributes that are worth considering include the atmosphere and religious outlook, the food and recreational activities and any special needs and preferences you or your relative might have.

  1. Make a list of ideal attributes that are important to you and your loved one

These could include location, ease of access for visitors, religious outlook and support, food choice and quality, daily activities, condition of the building and physical environment, any special needs and preferences your loved one might have.

  1. Check out the homes in the area you want

Review the information available to you about them, whether that be from talking to people with experience, their website and social channels (often these give a real insight into what they have going on), HIQA reports. You can find a full list of nursing homes in your area on the Nursing Homes Ireland website 

  1. Make a shortlist

Decide on a selected few that you think have the attributes that you want. You might like to have a phone call with these to figure out which ones you want to go to the next step with.

  1. Visit the home

There is nothing quite like visiting a home to get a feel for what the atmosphere and general state of satisfaction with the experience is in the home. Make sure you get the most from this visit by having a list of questions and things that you want to get checked out on the visit.

Nursing Home Visit Checklist

Here some important questions to ask when deciding between nursing homes in your area:

Accreditation and Licensing:

Is the nursing home licensed and accredited by the relevant health authorities?

What is the facility’s track record regarding compliance with regulations and standards?

Staffing and Training:

What is the staff-to-resident ratio, especially during peak hours and weekends?

What are the qualifications and training requirements for caregivers, nurses, and support staff?

Care Services:

What specific services and levels of care does the nursing home provide?

How is medical care, including medication management, handled?

Are there specialised care programs for conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s?

Daily Activities and Programs:

What recreational and social activities are available for residents?

Are there programs designed to meet the individual needs and interests of residents?

Facility Environment:

How is the overall cleanliness and maintenance of the facility?

Can you tour the facility to assess the living spaces, common areas, and outdoor spaces?

Meal Services:

How are meals planned and prepared? Are dietary restrictions accommodated?

Can residents make special requests for meals or snacks?

Family Involvement:

What is the policy for family visits and involvement in the care planning process?

Are there family support services or educational programs available?

Safety and Security:

What safety measures are in place to prevent accidents and ensure the well-being of residents?

How is the facility secured, and are there emergency response plans in case of evacuation or other crises?

Costs and Billing:

What are the total costs, and what is included in the base fee?

Are there additional charges for specific services, and how are they billed?

Staff Turnover:

What is the staff turnover rate, and how does the facility work to retain qualified and experienced staff?

Residents’ Rights and Policies:

What are the policies regarding residents’ rights and responsibilities?

How are complaints or concerns addressed, and what is the grievance resolution process?

Quality of Life:

How does the facility promote a high quality of life for residents?

Can you speak with current residents or their families to get their perspective on the facility?

Visiting Policies During COVID-19 or Other Health Crises:

What are the current visiting policies, especially in light of health crises like COVID-19?

How does the facility keep residents and staff safe during such situations?

Asking these questions will help you gather important information and assess the suitability of each nursing home for your loved one’s needs and preferences. Additionally, consider taking notes during your visits to compare different facilities later on.

What sets Evergreen Care nursing homes apart

Evergreen Care is one of Ireland’s premier nursing home groups. We have 11 nursing homes under our management in Carlow, Cork, Dublin, Louth, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Wexford and Wicklow.

At Evergreen Care, our philosophy is to treat our staff brilliantly so that they treat your loved one brilliantly. We aim to retain our staff by giving them the individual and career support they need. When our staff stay with us, they get to know our residents better, leading to happier residents and happier families.

Click the button below to see our 11 Nursing Homes and where they are. On each home’s page you can book a call back, a Teams Meeting or a Visit at a time of your choice.

Home From Home