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How to avoid the top 10 mistakes when finding a placement for a loved one

August 10th, 2009

1. Making a decision too quickly:

When your loved one is in the hospital, we often make a quick decision in order to avoid a prolonged stay at the hospital.

Solution: Let the hospital team take the time needed to complete a full assessment to ensure the placement meets your loved one’s needs.

2. Leaving the hospital without the proper discharge information:

Sometimes we are in such a rush to leave the hospital, or we cannot find a staff member with whom to speak, we leave without gathering all of the information we need.

Solution: Make sure you have a complete list of all medications your loved one took at the hospital as well as the ones given upon discharge. Try to get a written discharge summary to give to the placement.

3. Choosing a placement not suited for your loved one:

We often choose a placement, hoping that our loved one will be able to function in that setting in the future.

Solution: Be realistic about the progress and improvements your loved one will make based on the diagnosis, rehabilitation and treatment now.

4. Choosing a placement based on a few criteria only:

There are many areas to consider when choosing a placement. Some may be of more importance to you than others.

Solution: It is important to look at the overall picture when choosing a placement and decide what your priorities are. No facility will meet all of your loved one’s needs.

5. Not visiting enough facilities prior to a decision:

When in a rush, we are often quick to choose the first facility that has a room available.

Solution: It is recommended to visit at least 3 facilities before making a decision. If possible, have a meal at each facility. Talk to a few staff members, to get a sense of how the facility “feels.”

6. Letting your emotions make the decision:

Making a decision to place a loved one is draining and stressful. Don’t let these feelings overshadow the objectivity you need to have in choosing the appropriate facility for your loved one.

Solution: Take a deep breath, and think your decision through.

7. Making a decision alone:

Placing a loved one is a big decision and you should try to avoid carrying the burden by yourself.

Solution: Include family members in the decision making whenever possible. Ask for another professional, such as a nurse, social worker or doctor for their opinion.

8. Not reviewing the power of attorney:

In our haste to make quick decisions, we sometimes forget to reference the document that our loved one prepared for just this situation.

Solution: If your loved put his or her wishes in writing, review them as soon as possible. It may make your decision easier if you know what your loved one wants.

9. Not including your loved one in the decision:

Even if your loved one has deficits, they may be able to understand some, if not all of what is happening to them.

Solution: Include your loved one in making a decision if possible. It will empower them and may help their adjustment if they feel they have a choice in what happens.

10. Ignoring your instinct:

You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach. It is telling you something.

Solution: You know your loved one better than anyone. Don’t discredit professional assessments, but advocate for your loved one and make decisions that you feel are right.

For more information on placements and simple tools to assist you in finding the right facility, visit our Services page.

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