Choosing a facility can be daunting. Here are some criteria you can use to make the best choice for your loved one.
RATING: Medicare.gov rates by state every nursing/assisted living home. It is based on the standard set by the US Government rules and regulations, number of complaints, violations, staff to resident ration and inspection. http://www.medicare.gov/nhcompare/include/datasection/questions/proximitysearch.asp?bhcp=1 Many states also have a rating system. You can also read recent complaints and resolutions. You can find this information in the Department of Elder Services or the equivalent for each state. It is also important to ask friends about their experience and personal knowledge on any nursing home. After this research, you can compile a list of possibilities.
VISIT: The best option is to visit the nursing homes on your list. You want to speak with everyone involved from the administrators, nurses, and medical aides. Here are some of the most important questions from US News and Report. http://www.usnews.com/usnews/multimedia_assets/090310/nursinghome_checklist.pdf If you cannot visit, then check for a website and ask for a conference call. If possible ask to speak with a family member of a current resident. Remember, the administrator will try to sell the institution so it is important to get accurate information from their interview as well as the rating sites.
FINANCIAL: My advise is to speak with an elder care lawyer if possible. Nursing homes/assisted living facilities will eat up resources until medicaid will cover. There are options and an important area to feel secure about. If you can’t speak with a lawyer, then make sure you are getting what you need from the home.
Next blog in this series is problems you will face once your loved one is in the nursing home.