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Friday, July 26, 2013

10 Ways To Choose A Great Nursing Home For Your Loved Ones

1. Visit During Meal Times- Mealtimes are when nursing home employees are under the greatest stress. When you visit, observe whether employees are interacting  with residents in a friendly manner. If so they'll probably treat residents well at all times.

2. Inquire About Agency Nurses - When a nursing home can't find enough permanent nurses, they hire agency nurses to fill the gap. Most homes use agency nurses from time, but it's a bad sign if 15%-20% of a home's nurses are provided by agencies. Ask the facility what percentage of nurses are from an agency.

3. Check Out The Physical Therapy Facilities - Insist on touring the physical therapy department. If the equipment doesn't look modern or expensive, then it's a bad sign. Also ask whether the physical therapist is on staff or on contract. Homes that have a therapist on staff make a greater commitment to rehab services.

4. Make Sure The Home Has A Five Star Rating The Medicare system website includes a star rating system on nursing homes. Avoid homes with an overall rating lower than five stars. You can view the ratings at www.Medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare  .

5. Check The Activities Schedule - Next time you visit, look at the activities schedule. Then look in at one or two activities. Is the activity really taking place? How many resident are there? Does it look like ther're having fun ? Make sure they're not clustered around a nursing station staring into space or at at TV. They should be chatting together, playing cards or interacting.

6. Take A Deep Whiff   Making a sub par nursing home smell is a tough challenge. So walk down corridors where doors to patients rooms are open and take a whiff. If the place reeks of urine, feces or large amounts of Lysol, then be suspicious.

7. Is It Really Private? Most homes offer shared rooms since they were built before the importance of singe rooms was recognized. If single rooms are not available, then consider how much privacy the home's shared rooms offer. Some have sturdy partitions and others have thin curtains or nothing at all.

8. Make Frequent Visits -Residents whose families visit often usually receive more attentive care. If you live far away, try to arrange for a friend , relative or concierge service to visit on a regular basis and give you update.

9. Avoid Getting Your Loved One Kicked Out -  Nursing homes cannot legally expel residents if they run out of money. So they must resort to Medicaid for payment. But nursing homes are allowed to send away residents that require more care than they can provide. Some greedy nursing homes expel residents who run out of money and claim that their care needs have increased. If this happens to your loved one, then file a complaint with your state's ombudsman through www.LTCOmbudsman.org

10.Don't Let A Hospital Rush You  If your loved one requires a nursing home care after a hospital stay, there's a good chance the hospital discharge planner will try to give just a few days to choose a nursing home. That's because the longer your loved one stays, the less profit they make. If the discharge planner  won't give you more time to choose a home, then threaten to file an appeal with Medicare if he or she won't relax the deadline. Most planners will back down because they don't want the paperwork hassles. But if you have to file an appeal, the hospital's patient advocate should be able to provide info on how to file. Or you can hire a long term care case manager for a few hundred dollars. Also, your local area agency on aging can help you find a local case manager. Or find one at:    www.cmsa.org

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