How to Find the Best Nursing Home for Your Loved One
On behalf of Karen Salter at Salter Ferguson, LLC
By following a few commonsense steps, you can ensure that you find the best nursing home for your loved one.
It is an unfortunate fact that as loved ones get older, many will become injured, lose their motor skills or suffer from dementia. As a result, some will need the care that a nursing home or assisted living facility provides. However, you may have heard many stories in the media and from other people about the unsettling issue of nursing home abuse and neglect in certain institutions. As a result, you are highly motivated to find the best facility possible for your loved one. If you follow a few steps when selecting a nursing home or assisted living facility, you can ensure that your loved one will receive the best possible treatment.
If you suspect that your loved one is being mistreated, an experienced personal injury attorney can explain your rights to you and work to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.
Research options thoroughly
Although the recommendations of friends and family members should not be discounted, it is important to do your own research to find a facility that offers the best care within your budget. Medicare’s “Nursing Home Care” website is a good place to start. This website ranks nursing home facilities in your area on several areas using a one to five star system.
Experts recommend working from the highest rating down, starting with the facilities that consistently achieve four of five stars. However, since these facilities may have a waiting list or only accept private insurance, many may not be available or within your budget. Beware of nursing homes that have been rated “Special Focus Facilities,” as these consistently have a history of poor performance.
Although the ratings are important, experts also recommend that the facility’s distance from you is even more essential in finding the best fit. Since a closer facility would make it more likely that you would visit often and be better able to monitor your loved one’s care, such a facility is generally better than a higher-rated one farther away.
What to do during the visit
Obviously, it is not advisable to commit your loved one to a facility sight unseen. As a result, you should visit the facility with questions in mind and eyes open. One of the important indicators of how your loved one would be treated is staffing levels. Look around and count the number of nurses and nurse aides, as they are essential in ensuring that patients receive the care they need. Also, be sure to ask the staff if they regularly work double or overtime shifts, as overwork leads to stress, which leads to poor care.
Another important thing to observe is how the staff interacts with the patients and residents, as it is a reliable indicator of how your loved one would be treated. It is a telltale sign of disrespect (which often leads to poor treatment) if the staff does not call the patients by their names. Additionally, observe how the staff interacts with each other. If you see several staff stand ing around chatting while patients are sitting around looking bored, it tends to indicate that it is not a good environment.
Finally, it is important to observe the facility itself. Make sure that it is clean, safe, well lit and secure.
Speak with an attorney
By taking these steps, you can minimize the possibility that your loved one would be neglected or mistreated during his or her stay. However, it is not a total guarantee. While your loved one is in the facility, it is important to stay vigilant for signs of abuse or neglect such as sudden weight loss, bedsores, bruises or fearfulness of the staff.