According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 40 percent of those 65 and older will need nursing home care in the years to come, and 10 percent of those patients will remain in nursing homes at least five years. We'll all need to confront decisions about nursing home care. Because the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home can be so difficult, a recent article offers a few simple steps to finding good nursing home care:
(1) research the quality of nursing homes in your geographic area using the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Nursing Home Compare web site, which reports on problems like pressure ulcers (bed sores, pressure sores, decubitus ulcers), poor nutrition, staffing ratios, and others;
(2) in order to find nursing homes with good reputations, speak with hospital discharge planners, social workers, physicians, and your local ombudsman (volunteer resident advocate);
(3) visit each nursing home you're considering, preferably without notice to the facility, and speak with patients, families, and staff as you look around;
(4) check on bed availability to see if your loved one might be placed on a waiting list;
(5) determine what expectations the nursing home has for your family on issues like participation at care plan meetings and payment for services and fees;
(7) does the nursing home offer preventative care like immunizations for flu and pneumonia and routine monitoring of blood pressure and weight?;
(8) what opportunities does the nursing home offer for your family to participate in group forums, including resident and family council meetings?;
(9) if your loved one has a terminal condition, does the nursing home participate with hospice care programs?;
(10) how does the nursing home ensure patients with special diets and dietary restrictions receive proper nutrition?;
(11) does the nursing home offer special clinical care like peritoneal dialysis, central line care, intravenous medications, and wound vacs?; and,
(12) what procedures can the nursing home use to ensure good communication with family during the admissions process, the adjustment period after admission, and thereafter?
Read the entire article to get more helpful advice about this always difficult time. Let's pray the effort we invest into selecting good nursing homes will pay dividends by reducing the chances they become the victims of neglect and abuse.
Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.
Posted on Sun, February 17, 2008
by Robert Carter