Choosing to place yourself or a loved one in a nursing home can be extremely difficult. Finding the right one is even harder. A wealth of information exists online and much of it is useful, but this decision should be informed by experience and conversations with the people that matter most as well.
1 – Identify All of Your Options
Go online and find every nursing home in your area. A great place to identify these facilities is on the medicare.gov website. Using their Nursing Home Compare feature, you can type in your zip code and quickly compare all of the care facilities in a given radius. You may have more options than you originally thought!
2 – Visit Each Prospective Nursing Home More Than Once
Ideally, visit each nursing home more than once and at different times of the day. This may seem like common sense, but it is too important not to mention. When you visit each facility, use all of your senses. Listen for the noise level and the voices of the people around you. Smell the air. Watch the people around you. Are they having strained conversations? Do they look miserable? It is also a good idea to try the food. Some places will allow you to have a meal. You or your loved one will call this place home. Would you want to live there?
3 – Check the Health Inspection Reports of Each Facility
Using the aforementioned medicare.gov website, you can view the results of all health inspections completed in the last three years at each facility. After clicking on the name of a nursing home, click the “Health Inspections” tab to find:
- The number of citations in the last three years;
- The level of harm of those citations;
- Full reports of each inspection; and
- Much more.
4 – Talk to a Doctor
To choose the appropriate nursing home for yourself or a loved one, you must find one that offers all of the services needed. You should have a detailed care plan in place, so you understand what to look for. Also, it is ok to ask a physician if they have a nursing home preference. They most likely have several patients in nursing homes and could offer valuable insight.
5 – Contact Your State’s Ombudsman Office
Each state has an Ombudsman office. This program was created as a part of the Older Americans Act of 1965. They are responsible for:
- Inspecting facilities;
- Responding to resident complaints;
- Working directly with residents to resolve issues; and/or
- Acting as a resource for all things elderly resident care.
Regardless of the amount of preparation, sometimes bad things happen in nursing homes. If you or a loved one were the victims of elderly abuse, you need the skills and experience of an attorney.