In the wake of nursing home abuse incidents, choosing a nursing home is very daunting. It is an emotional and stressful decision for a family to make.
Here some suggestions provided by Consumer Reports:
1. Get the names of local facilities. Call Eldercare Locator (800-677-1116) to find your local agency on aging.
2. Check Consumer Reports Nursing Home Quality Monitor, which has state-by-state findings, at www.consumerreports.org/nursinghomes.
3. Check on ownership. Independent nonprofit facilities may be better than for-profit chains, according to Consumer Reports.
4. Check with your local long-term care ombudsman. This government official can be found through your local agency on aging. He or she should know about local nursing homes.
5. Don’t rely on the federal web site. Nursing home information at http://www.medicare.gov may be “incomplete and possibly misleading,” saysConsumer Reports.
6. Visit homes several times.
7. Read each home’s Form 2567. This document contains a listing of deficiencies cited by the surveying state and regional agencies.
8. Check on the staff. Talk to the home’s administrator; and ask about top-level staff turnover.
You should also request a tour and take notice of the cleanliness of the facility. Inquire about the number of RN’s on staff. If you go in the morning, after 9:30 am, see how many people are still in bed. “Homes with too few staff members don’t get people out of bed until late in the day, if at all,” says Consumer Reports. If you go around dinner time, check out the dining hall. If 75% of the residents are eating in their rooms, that’s not a good sign. Most people, according to Consumer Reports, prefer to be out of bed and to eat in the dining room.
Once a decision has been made about a nursing home and the loved one has been admitted, start making unannounced visits. And go at different times of day.
As I always mention, please report all incidents to the proper authorities. You can also find information on the National Center on Elder Abuse’s website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov.
Please feel free to leave your questions or comments.