Finding the Right Nursing Home

The decision to place a family member or loved one in the care of a nursing home can be one of the more trying events imaginable. There may be no way to make this decision any easier from an emotional standpoint, but there are steps you can take to better ensure the safety of those you hold dear.

By asking questions and looking for signs, you can better prevent unnecessary instances of abuse from occurring, and identify facilities where the well-being of the residents may be compromised by unqualified supervisors and staff.

Here are a few questions you can ask when interviewing administrators about their care facility:

  • Are the home and the current administrator licensed?
  • Does the home conduct background checks on all staff?
  • Does the home have special services units?
  • Does the home have abuse prevention training?
  • Does the home have a mandatory drug testing policy for its employees?

Asking specific questions regarding facility resources, resident/staff relations and emergency care services can go a long ways in determining what type of nursing care facility is best suited for your needs, or those of a loved one. In addition, employing a step-by-step process in determining which nursing home is right for you can eliminate many of the fears and concerns associated with such a life-changing decision.

Step One: Make sure the facility is Medicare/Medicaid-certified

Step Two: Become educated about the policies and procedures that are in place to protect residents and their possessions

Step Three: Make sure that there is a licensed doctor on staff who is on-site daily, or if not, can be easily reached and respond in case of an emergency

Step Four: Make certain that the nursing home is always well kept, with regular maintenance and/or cleaning periods that do not conflict with the resident's daily schedules

Step Five: Monitor staff/resident interaction, paying special attention to whether or not employees of the facility make every attempt to create a safe and secure environment

Step Six: Determine whether or not the facility maintains acceptable temperature and lighting for the tenants

Proper research can help alleviate many of the concerns and doubts you might have regarding nursing home care and policies. However, pre-screening nursing home administrators is not a full-proof way to guarantee your loved one's safety and security. Placing trust in someone to care for you or a loved one can be one of life's great challenges, and it is in your best interest to contact qualified, experienced and understanding legal counsel immediately should you feel that trust has been broken.

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Research of Nursing Homes

There are countless nursing homes across the country, and finding the right nursing home is a challenge to senior citizens and their families. Different care options are offered at different locations and this must be a primary consideration when researching different nursing home options.

Another equally important quality of a nursing home is the level of comfort the potential tenant and his or her family feel with its location and staff. There is a high level of trust and responsibility placed on the nursing home to look after a loved one in his or her golden years. Conducting research to find the right nursing home is an incredibly important step towards ensuring the comfort of loved ones.

Online Resources:
The following is a list of online resources for accessing the information needed to determine which nursing home care facility in your area most effectively meets the needs of the prospective resident:

www.healthgrades.com
This private company rates nursing homes.

www.medicare.gov
Search engine at this site allows users to check whether a particular nursing home has been cited for problems using ZIP code or state. Simply because a home does not appear in the database does not mean it passed all inspections.

www.ahca.org
Organization represents nursing homes.

www.nursinghomedirectory.org
A web site that provides resource information, links and other services for those researching nursing home facilities.

www.ncal.org
A web site that provides resource information, links and other services for those researching nursing home facilities.

www.solutionsforseniorcare.com
Skilled Geriatric Care Managers, Solutions for Senior Care, Inc. (SSC) can help you evaluate your elder loved one's situation, review your options and assist you in implementing a plan that meets your unique needs.

If you are considering a nursing home for a loved one, you owe it to yourself and your family to conduct thorough research into the different options available. Additionally, it is a wise idea to discuss your needs with an attorney who can provide insight to take into your decision-making. Do not hesitate to contact an understanding nursing home abuse lawyer today.

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Comparing Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are designed to help patients function as effectively as possible from a physical, mental and emotional standpoint. All care facilities have specific obligations and responsibilities in regards to the services they provide, but some are more appealing than others in terms of individualized care, cost and overall condition.

Presently, there are nearly 17,000 nursing homes in the U.S., and as a result, it can be difficult to choose which facility best suits your needs or the needs of a loved one. Perhaps the best method is to compare the services of individual nursing homes within the state or area you prefer, focusing on specific factors that you feel are imperative to effective healthcare.

The following is a list of services and basic facility information that should be available at the nursing home of your choice:

  • The facility is Medicare/Medicaid-certified
  • The nursing home has the level of skilled employees needed for overall facility maintenance, and a bed is always available for a resident
  • There are policies and procedures to protect residents and their possessions
  • The nursing home is located close enough for family and friends to visit regularly
  • The nursing home appears clean and well kept
  • The temperature and the lighting in the nursing home are acceptable
  • The relationship between the residents and staff is warm and respectful
  • There is a licensed doctor on staff who should be on site daily, and if not, can be easily reached and can respond quickly in case of an emergency

Choosing a care facility that effectively meets the needs of you or a loved one can be a difficult and time-consuming process. Educate yourself on the services offered by facilities in your area, and above all else, allow yourself an acceptable amount of time to make such an important and potentially life-changing decision.

Medicare.gov
Interactive tool which provides information about the past performance of every Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing home in the country.
Medicare.gov Nursing Home Compare Tool



Nursing Home Checklist

Things you should consider when choosing a nursing home.

PDF Icon Click to download PDF.
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Nursing Home Costs

Cost can be a deciding factor in determining which nursing home is right for you or a loved one. As of 2004, the average daily cost of a private room in a nursing home in the United States is $70,080 per year, or $192 per day. Shared rooms average $52,480 per year, or $144 per day.

The highest rates were reported in the state of Alaska where the cost is $204,765 per year or $561 per day on average. The lowest rates were found in Shreveport, Louisiana at $36,135 per year or $99 per day.

Take the time to compare the prices and features of nursing homes in your area. If you or a loved one currently resides in a facility that may be guilty of unprofessional and illegal business practices, it is imperative to contact qualified and compassionate legal counsel at your soonest possible convenience.

Review Ratings of Nursing Homes

There are different services available that provide star ratings on nursing homes across the country. By reviewing these ratings, families can find the right nursing home for their loved ones based on their needs. This allows everyone involved to rest peacefully knowing that their loved ones are safe and happy in their golden years.

Reviewing nursing home ratings is an important part of conducting research to find the right nursing home. Nobody should have to live in conditions that are unsatisfactory, particularly after a lifetime of caring for children and other family members. Nursing home ratings can offer insight into the quality of care provided by a particular establishment and allow families to make educated choices. The following links will help you gather additional information on specific nursing homes and how they "rate" with other facilities:

www.healthgrades.com
Allows users to instantly compare nursing care facilities in their area. Also rates nursing homes on specific criteria, as well as discussing any problems and/or complaints filed against a specific facility.

www.eldercarelink.com
Provides a free referral service that rates and ranks nursing homes both locally and nationally.

www.memberofthefamily.net
The comprehensive source for unbiased nursing home ratings and national nursing home watch lists for use by health care professionals and family members.

www.carescout.com
Ratings of elder care nursing homes, assisted living facilities and home health agencies, plus advice on senior health topics.

www.carepathways.com
Compares nursing home care ratings and rankings with detailed survey results.

If you or someone you care about is trying to find the right nursing home, you owe it to yourself and your family to review nursing home ratings during your search. An experienced and understanding lawyer can help in this process by reviewing contracts and providing valuable information to your family. Do not wait any longer to contact a compassionate nursing home abuse attorney today.

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Facts and this guide to finding the right nursing home was updated on 12/04/2006.