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4 Tips for Choosing Skilled Nursing Care

The idea of choosing a place for skilled nursing care isn’t something many of us want to consider. However, if you or your loved one end up requiring a high level of assistance in order to have the best possible quality of life, skilled nursing is often the solution. While it isn’t always pleasant to think about, it is a good idea to thoughtfully consider your options before the need becomes absolutely necessary, says Pamela Klapproth, CEO of Kendal on Hudson, a not-for-profit Life Plan Community serving older adults in the Quaker tradition in Sleepy Hollow, NY.

“Skilled Nursing is different from Assisted Living in that it provides medical care delivered by trained, licensed nurses,” Pamela says. “While skilled nursing centers can be standalone facilities, we at Kendal on Hudson provide compassionate Skilled Nursing on our beautiful campus in Westchester County.”

The Clearwater at Kendal on Hudson—our community’s Skilled Nursing facility—offers exceptional Skilled Nursing services for older adults with health issues that must be monitored on a regular basis. However, Pamela says, The Clearwater at Kendal on Hudson strives to provide as much independence as possible to residents alongside the very best possible care, whether they are there permanently or for a short-term stay.

The Clearwater at Kendal on Hudson provides a variety of services and amenities, including:

  • Private accommodations with private bathrooms
  • 24-hour nursing care provided by Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses and Certified Nursing Assistants
  • All meals and snacks, including special diets
  • Dietary consultation
  • Social work and case management services
  • Social and recreational services
  • Personal laundry
  • Use of the community center amenities, including the library, dining rooms, hair salon, programs in the gathering room, etc.
  • Interdisciplinary care plan team for Resident Care Plan development and management
  • Hospice care
  • Integrated physical, occupational and speech therapies designed to help residents attain their highest level of physical well-being—available six days a week in our state-of-the-art facility

Tips for Choosing Skilled Nursing Care

1. Ask around.

There are many ways to learn about skilled nursing care in your area. One of the very best resources are people you know and trust, such as friends, family members and neighbors. Other great personal resources include physicians, senior activity centers and your local Area Agency on Aging. Another great place to start is the Nursing Home Compare tool at This allows you to compare skilled nursing facilities in your desired area based on their quality of care, what special services they offer and their health and safety inspection results.

2. Research your options.

After you’ve found some promising skilled nursing options in your area, it’s important to do your research. You can start by calling your Long-Term Care Ombudsman, who is an advocate for residents of nursing homes, board and care homes, assisted living facilities, and other adult care facilities. Other resources include Internet searches and your state health department

3. Tour the facilities and ask questions.

It’s essential to visit any skilled nursing centers in person and do your own in-person research. Touring a place in person provides a much better view overall of the community and can give you a “gut feel” for whether or not a choice is right. Here is a list of questions you should ask on a tour to help determine whether a community is right for your loved one:

  1. What are your inspection ratings or star ratings? A 5-star rating means that a facility has met all standards for quality set forth on a state and national level.
  2. What activities are available? Whether someone is there for a short- or long-term stay, you want a community that understands that “wellness” encompasses the whole person, not just physical health. Look for places that provide a broad range of opportunities.
  3. How are care plans developed? You never want a one-size-fits-all care plan. Ask about health assessments and how personalized plans are crafted. Ask about family involvement and how often plans are revisited and tweaked.
  4. What are your visitor policies? Staying in contact with friends and family will help improve quality of life.
  5. Who are the doctors on staff, and is it possible to see my personal doctor? If your own physician doesn’t visit currently, will the facility arrange transportation for you to go there?
  6. Will you have the same staff every day or will they change? Having a consistent team caring for you will help encourage relationship-building and provide a happier environment.
  7. What is the staff-to-resident ratio? A lower staff-to-resident ratio means that the care workers have more opportunity to meet with, care for and bond with residents on a personal level.

4. Go with your gut.

After you’ve done all your research and toured various communities, it may be difficult to come to a decision. In that case, take some time and listen to your gut as you think about different communities. What are your impressions? Do you feel comfortable going there, or having your loved one go there? Does it seem like an enjoyable place? Did residents seem happy and engaged? If you have any hesitation about a certain community, trust your instincts.

By doing your research and carefully considering your options, you will better be able to choose skilled nursing care that meets your care needs as well as provides an environment that’s happy, engaging and fulfilling.

Together, Transforming the Experience of Aging.®

Founded on Quaker principles and guided by our values and practices, Kendal on Hudson provides a vibrant, active and social senior lifestyle on our 25-acre campus next to the historic Hudson River. As the only LifePlan community in Westchester County, we offer five levels of service for our residents: Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Support, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Services.

Kendal on Hudson is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization led by a volunteer Board of Directors. Kendal on Hudson is an affiliate of The Kendal Corporation, a system of communities and services for older people based in Kennett Square, PA. We support diversity, inclusiveness, and independence and support the values and practices of Kendal by remaining focused on healthy aging. Located in Sleepy Hollow, New York, just 35 miles from New York City, we offer a vibrant lifestyle, cultural programs, continued learning and health care for life.

For more information, please call 866-358-5802.