Picking the Right Nursing Home

With elder abuse on the rise, choosing a nursing care home for mom and dad requires a thorough investigation into the facility, its employees and its history.

The following are some guidelines when choosing a home:

1. Home options. Determine which nursing homes are in your area. This online tool will tell you where nursing homes are and how they rate in two areas: a) quality of care and b) how much time the staff spends with its residents. According to the experts, only choose homes with 4 or 5 stars in quality in care and 3.5-4.5 hours of care per resident per day.

2. Compare costs. According to MarketWatch and a 2010 study by MetLife Mature Market Institute, the national average rate for a private room in a nursing home is $229 per day; for a semi-private room it’s $205 per day. However, some homes charge close to $700 per day and some charge as little as $123 per day. The variance between costs can depend on the facilities, number of patients, as well as your location. Costs are higher in the Northeast and Alaska and in major coastal cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Therefore, make sure the home you choose reflects the level of care that will be provided and its location. REMEMBER: higher costs do not equal a higher level of care.

3. Make Multiple Visits. With your list of nursing homes that fit your budget, begin to visit the facilities on different days and at different times- making sure at least one of those visits is in the evening when staffing is typically thinner. During your visits, look at how the staff interact with the residents: Do staff members smile at the residents? Do they know the residents’ names? Are residents responsive to the staff? Do residents seem withdrawn and depressed, or are they engaged and somewhat active? Remember, you are choosing a home, so ask residents about their experience with the staff, their comfort level and the food.

4. Meet the employees and directors. It is important to know who will be screening the staff that works at the home you are visiting, as well as who makes the day-to-day decisions at the home. A recent study by the Department of Health and Human Services, as reported by the New York Times, discovered that more than 90% of nursing homes across the country employ one or more people who have been convicted of at least one crime. Moreover, there is no law or federal regulation that requires nursing homes to check federal or state criminal history records for prospective employees, although many do. Therefore, be sure to meet with the Director of Nursing, the Facility Administrator and the Medical Director to discuss the screening in place at the home, as well as any other issues that may arise during your visit. And don’t forget to ask about their credentials and experience!

5. Ask Questions! Do they conduct background checks? If so, do they hire anyone with a criminal history? Be sure to ask for a copy of the home’s most recent federal inspection, which will highlight problems the facility has had, including complaints of abuse or neglect.

For any questions or inquiries please visit aidikofflaw.com or call (800) 981-5932.

Jeff Aidikoff is an elder abuse attorney in Beverly Hills, CA. He can be reached at (800) 981-5932 or jeff@aidikofflaw.com.

Most of the content in this blog is directly from an article written by Catey Hill, with MarketWatch.

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