When and if the time comes to help your elderly loved one to move into a nursing home, you're likely to feel apprehension over putting them into the care of virtual strangers. When that is coupled by the alarming statistics of financial and physical abuse of elders in long term care facilities, the thought of your loved one being harmed often becomes downright frightening.
Of course, there are countless California nursing homes that provide loving, compassionate and professional care for elders. But the sad reality is that many do not. In fact, many California nursing homes provide substandard care, and practices. It was precisely this reality that prompted the non-profit citizen advocacy group Families for Better Care to analyze, compare and rank each state's nursing home quality. Each state was then given a grade, which is available at www.nursinghomereportcards.com
The methodology Better Care for Families uses to rank states includes:
• State's average registered nurse (RN) hours per resident per day
• State's average certified nurse assistant hours (CNA) hours per resident per day
• Percentage of facilities with above average registered nurse staffing
• Percentage of facilities with above average direct care staffing
• Percentage of facilities with above average health inspections
• Percentage of facilities with deficiencies (Calendar Year 2012)
• Percentage of facilities with severe deficiencies (CY12)
Sadly, California received only a C rating. Families for Better Care based this rating on the following conclusions:
• California nursing home residents interact with professional nursing home staff only 43 minutes per day--36th worst in the nation.
• Rampant problems plague California nursing homes as 9 out of 10 facilities cited a deficiency.
• Only 10% of California nursing homes cited a severe deficiency, among the lowest in the nation and the best ranked California measure.
• California nursing home care ranks second to last in the Pacific Region.
While these statistics are discouraging, there are ways to verify that a nursing home you're considering for a loved one, is providing the quality care the elder in your life deserves. The website www.senioradvisor.com/ provides real reviews from visitors and residents of various nursing homes throughout the country, including those in San Diego California. By entering your zip code, you'll find reviews of dozens of elderly care facilities, in and around San Diego, complete with reviews by actual residents and their families. It's also a smart idea to bring this Nursing Home Checklist with you, when visiting any long term skilled nursing facility in Southern California.
There is no excuse for elder abuse, nor any shame in being a victim of elder abuse. If you or someone you know has been abused, report the incident immediately. To report elder abuse in San Diego, contact: San Diego County Aging and Independent Services 9335 Hazard Way, Suite 100 San Diego, CA 92123 (858) 495-5660 (800) 510-2020 (local) (800) 339-4661.