Choose your Florida or Mississippi skilled nursing center wisely.

residents playing checkers in a gchc recreational facility

For skilled nursing, rehabilitation, senior living and long term care, choosing the right center isn’t easy. In fact, it can be overwhelming. Even navigating the different care options—short-term, long-term, assisted living, rehabilitation, etc.—can be confusing. Yet, it’s vitally important to select the care center that’s most appropriate and beneficial for your (or your loved one’s) health, quality of life and safety.

So, how do you go about doing that? How do you choose from all the options? More to the point, how do you choose wisely?

How to make the most informed decision for senior care.

At Gulf Coast Health Care, we understand the challenge you face, and we’re here to help you make the most informed decision. We know it’s one of the most important ones you’ll ever make. There’s no trick to it. You need to weigh all the factors and take all the steps, which include:

  • Determine your needs – Discuss with your physician and other involved parties the types of services you or your loved one need.
  • Identify which centers can meet your needs – Your doctors, social workers, case managers and even friends and family can help find the centers that have what you need.
  • Call them – Speak with the centers’ admissions directors directly. Ask them your questions, and request a tour.
  • Take a tour – Visit the centers you’re considering. Once you’ve narrowed your choices down to just a few centers, visit them at different times of day so that you have a more complete picture and can make the most informed choice. Request introductions with the heads of departments.
  • Sight, sound, taste, touch, smell – During the tour, use your senses. Is the center well maintained? Clean? Cheerful? Homey? Professional? Is the food healthy and fresh? Social atmosphere? The list goes on and on. Pay attention to the details. And bring a notebook.
  • Location, location, location – The center that you select should be close to home for you and family members, and convenient for people to visit.
  • Safety matters – Look into the safety policies, procedures and track record of the centers that you’re considering.
  • Check the ratings – Every skilled nursing center that participates in Medicare or Medicaid is rated for cleanliness, quality of care and many other important factors. This is to help you make an informed choice. Use it.
  • Have they won awards? – Awards from legitimate, reliable entities should factor into the decision-making. More is better than less, or none. Also, pay attention to the award categories and, if possible, the judgment criteria.
  • Take your time – Don’t rush your final decision. Consider everything you experienced during the tours and learned before, during or since. Make the decision with the people involved in your life and care, including your physician.

Resources to help you make the best decision.

To assist you in your search and in making a careful and informed decision, we’ve compiled a list of resources:

American Health Care Association – A non-profit federation of affiliate state health organizations, together representing more than 11,000 nursing centers.

healthcentral.com – A source of medical information and up-to-date news.

healthgrades.com – The leading independent health care ratings company. Research doctors, hospitals, medical procedures, and more.

To contact Gulf Coast Health Care, visit our Locations page to find the number for a specific center near you.