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Tuesday, Aug 30, 2016
8 Points to Consider before Choosing a Nursing Home
Posted by Andera Colon of
nursing home center 

Nursing homes are skilled nursing facilities that provide care for elders whose medical needs require the attention of trained nurses, but not the intensive care of a hospital. Most nursing homes provide custodial care including assisted bathing, feeding, dressing, and a high level of medical care. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 15,600 nursing homes in the United States catering the needs of 1.4 million residents in 2014.

The decision to move an older family member into a nursing home is often a difficult one. It may be a sudden decision following a hospitalization or a gradual one as it becomes difficult to cater their needs at home. For everyone involved, choosing the right nursing home is an emotional and financial challenge. However, the more prepared you are, the better decision you will make. You must consider following eight points before selecting a nursing home.

1. Affordability

The cost of a nursing home facility depends on the type and duration of the care your loved one needs. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the average cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home was $205 per day and a private room cost around $229 per day in 2010. Usually, nursing home care is not covered under Medicare. Medicare pays only for short stays following hospitalization.

In fact, it covers only 23 days care in total. Medicaid can help you pay for the expensive long-term care. However, it requires you to contribute most of your income towards the long-term depleting your assets. Besides, not all nursing homes accept Medicaid payments.

2. Requirements

A nursing home should provide enough care to meet your loved one's needs. You can ask the administrator to describe how they are going to handle bathing, dressing, medication, and general supervision of your loved one. Make sure to explain the type of care your elder family member needs. For instance, if your grandma has Alzheimer's, you should check if there is a special care unit with qualified staff that can look after her.

3. Convenience

The ideal nursing home should be convenient to as many family members as possible to visit. Make sure that the facility has convenient visiting hours and residents can have privacy with visitors.

4. Safety

Your loved has the right to live in a safe and healthy environment. However, safety hazards aren't always obvious. You should ensure that the nursing home has installed grab bars, handrails, stair railings, and non-skid floors to help prevent falls. You should also look for common safety hazards such as frayed carpets and cluttered floors. The facility should have secured doors and clearly marked exits free from any obstructions. It should also have secured fences and on-duty security guards to help prevent residents from wandering off.

nursing home 

If a nursing home was found violating safety and health regulations in the past, you should ask the administration how they were corrected. Adequate staffing is critical to a safe and healthy environment. A resident with shaky hands who doesn't get the help he/she needs may become malnourished.

5. Track Record

Registered nursing homes and assisted living facilities are regularly inspected by Federal and state nursing home regulators. Most reputable nursing homes will show you a list of citations during your first visit. You can find the inspection reports in the local district office. They include reports of violations and the facility's response to complaints and negative surveys. You can find information about inspection reports, staffing, and care quality of Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing homes here.

6. Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse is a major concern for the family members of a resident. It can involve physical, psychological and sexual abuse, financial exploitation and neglect. Neglect is often a result of inadequate staffing.

According to Jonathan Rosenfeld, founder of the Nursing Home Law Center, "There is no place for abuse or neglect in our nursing homes. Your loved ones deserve to be treated with respect and care. If you notice an unexplained injury or a mistreatment you should contact a nursing abuse lawyer immediately."

7. Qualified and Friendly Staff

Federal law states that there should be enough staff to care for the residents. Ideally, a nurse should care for no more than six to eight residents. However, most understaffed homes have one nursing assistant caring for as many as fifteen residents. You should also check if the nursing staff consists of an adequate number of qualified health care workers such as registered nurses. The staff should care for and respect the residents. Observe staff members to decide if they are competent, friendly and happy with their jobs. For instance, check if the nurses knock before entering a resident's room. Do they address residents casually or politely?

8. Food

Food should be freshly cooked, nutritious, and suitable for elders. Visiting a nursing home during mealtimes is an excellent way to check whether the quality of food is good. If possible, you can ask the administrator to try the food. It should be visibly appealing and tasty. However, if your loved one is on a restricted diet such as pureed food, you may not have much say over the appearance and the taste of the food.

Finding a right nursing home is no cakewalk. Recent hospitalization or rapidly deteriorating health of your loved one may force you to find one as quickly as possible. The right information and research strategies can help you find a facility that treats residents with respect and love. The more information you have, the sooner you can find the right home.

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