How to Find the Right Nursing Home
Placing the care of a loved one in the hands of another can be a difficult decision. When the decision involves choosing a nursing home, the choice can be absolutely monumental.
Knowing what to look for and what questions to ask can be the determining factor between beneficial or detrimental care. The quality of service provided can significantly impact your loved one’s well-being during their stay at a long-term care facility.
First Steps in Choosing a Nursing Home
Before starting your search for a nursing home, determining what type of care your loved one needs is vital.
- Is your loved one incontinent or disabled?
- Do they have Alzheimer’s or dementia?
- Do they have medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease?
Looking for facilities that have experience or are specialized in these areas can quickly eliminate nursing homes that don’t offer the amenities needed to care for your loved one. Asking friends, family members, and personal medical professionals for facility recommendations facilities is a great way to locate a reputable nursing home. Additionally, a quick search for nearby facilities on the Internet can provide a list of nursing homes in your area.
Once you have a preliminary list, you can begin your assessment of the providers.
The Importance of Research
A nursing home’s website is designed to sell and does not always reveal what happens inside the facility. Given the startling statistic that one in three nursing homes have been cited for care violations, careful research into the facility’s reputation and government evaluations can help ensure the safety of your loved ones.
There are various ways to research the reputation of a nursing home. These include:
- Calling your local state licensing agency or health department
- Reviewing the facility’s ratings on Medicare.gov, if they are Medicaid/Medicare certified
- Contacting your local long-term care ombudsman
Visiting Possible Nursing Homes
Ideally, potential nursing homes should be visited at least twice. Once with a scheduled appointment, and another as an unexpected “drop-in.” During your visits, observe your surroundings and current residents’ behavior. Is the place clean and sanitary or does it have a bad odor? Are patients wandering around unattended or unacknowledged? Do the current residents seem to have a good rapport with their caregivers, or are they cowering when approached? Anxious behavior toward staff may be a sign of abusive treatment.
Don’t be afraid to ask numerous questions. Any hesitation to answer your inquiries should be noted.
Important questions to ask include the following:
- May I see your recent inspection reports?
- How do you assist incontinent, diabetic, or immobilized patients?
- What is the nurse-to-patient ratio?
- How do you prevent or treat bed sores?
- What type of sanitary and security measures do you employ?
- What is your policy for notifying personal physicians or relatives in case of an emergency?
- What is a typical day like for a resident? What social activities do you provide?
- Do Medicaid patients receive the same level of service?
- May I see your written policies to protect patient rights?
If you are dissatisfied or uncomfortable with any of the answers, move on to another facility.
Monitoring Your Loved One’s Care
The assessment of a nursing home should be a continual process. Even after your loved one has moved in, continue to monitor the quality of care that he or she receives. A change in ownership or other circumstances can result an alteration to the level of provided service. Other problems may not come to light until after a prolonged stay. Always keep a watchful eye for signs of neglect or abuse.
If you suspect your loved one has been the victim of any type of nursing home abuse, take immediate action to ensure their safety and health! The attorneys at NursingHomeAbuseAwareness.com can provide information on the elderly’s right to receive compensation for the negligent actions of an abusive nursing home.