Nursing Home

Choosing a nursing home is a very important and significant decision that should be methodically thought out. You should gather as much information as possible on your choice of nursing home, get the history of the institution, and seek references from current residents. If you are researching a nursing home for you or a loved one, you should ask to see the current state inspection report and certification. If the nursing home gets federal assistance it has to be certified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), therefore has to pass periodic state inspections to continue to receive government money.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) have put together a checklist to help people that researching nursing homes find the right one for them or their loved one.

According to the NIH and the NIA, when comparing nursing homes you should keep these things in mind:

  • Look – Research the facilities in your area. Look for places close to family and friends. Inquire about things that are important to you and your family member's needs like nursing care, meals, religious connection, hospice care, or Special Care Units for dementia care.
  • Ask – Get suggestions for facilities that provide good care from friends, relatives, social workers, religious groups, and doctors.
  • Call – Contact each facility on your list. Find out how many residents they have, what is the cost, and if there is a waiting lists.
  • Visit - Meet with the director and the nursing director.
  • Talk – Ask questions like how long the director and department heads (nursing, food, and social services) have worked there. You want to know if key staff changes a lot, because that could indicate a problem.
  • Visit again - Make a second visit without advance notice. Try to make it on a different day of the week or time of day so you can meet other staff members and witness other activities. Stop by at mealtime. Notice if people enjoying their food?
  • Understand - Once you choose, carefully read the contract and make sure you understand it.

The Medicare Nursing Home Checklist suggests that you look for:

  • Medicare and Medicaid certification
  • Handicap access
  • Strong odors (either bad or good)
  • Various food choices
  • Residents who look well cared for
  • Enough staff for the number of residents

Nursing homes facilities provide much needed care for people that cannot live alone or cannot be cared for by their family. Residents of Nursing homes need special care but do not need the specialized care of a hospital. Most nursing homes keep a skilled and capable staff that may include nurse's aides, nurses, and therapists on staff 24-hours a day. Nursing homes provide special care for people that need special attention or have specific medical needs. About 1.6 million elderly and disabled Americans receive care in nearly 17,000 nursing homes in the United States.

While most nursing homes do an exceptional job at caring for their residents there are a few bad apples in every batch. Unfortunately, those are the ones that get all the media attention. Nursing home abuse does happen and you should be aware and informed of such abuses. You and your loved ones have the right to care in a nursing home free from abuse and neglect. You and your family have the right to know if anyone in the nursing home has been accused of abuse or neglect including staff members, other residents, volunteers, family and friends of other residents, or any other individuals that come in contact with the nursing home and/or their residents.

Nursing home abuse can include:

  • Verbal Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Financial Abuse
  • Neglect
  • Isolation

If you or a loved one may have been a victim of Assisted Living Abuse, consult with a local Lawyer in your area to review your case for free in exploring legal remedies.

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