Last week an article published on the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality explores ways that community members can use the tools to select the best long-term care facility for their loved one. Considering the prevalence of nursing home abuse and neglect, it is becoming increasingly important for families not to make these decisions lightly. There are many different factors to consider when deciding where you senior or disabled loved one will receive the care they need with their quality of life maximized.
One inherent challenge is that most people have never before had to make this decision. In addition, at the moment that a nursing home choice is made, those family members are often under stress. Of course it is much harder to step back and think through all options rationally when feeling that pressure. That is why it is essential for all those in the middle of this process to seek out the help of others and find available resources to aid in the decision.
The HHS article, written by a doctor who specializes in getting patients to engage in their care, suggested that the first place to start was the federal government website known Nursing Home Compare. We have discussed this valuable resource before. It has recently been revamped, and it allows users to identify nursing homes in an area by zip code, city and state, or county. The site then provides a wealth of information about that facility. For example, we know that those in our area have learned whether or not a facility that they were considering was the sights of chronic Illinois nursing home neglect. On the website all facilities are given a start ranking between 1 and 5. Those rankings factor in a range of variables from staffing levels and inspections records, to a variety of other quality of care standards. It is particularly helpful that each variable includes its own ranking. In that way you can see if a facility’s overall value was hurt most by staffing levels, bedsores rates, or other factors.
The Nursing Home Compare website is always improving, and next year it is set to roll out new features that will allow nursing home residents to add their own input. This personalized information will likely become invaluable to those trying to understand exactly what life is like at one of these locations. That resident input will be integrated into the overall ranking system to provide an even better targeting system of judging these facilities.
Beyond that important website, those searching for the best facility should also take many other steps to ensure their loved one is not the victim of nursing home neglect. For one thing, visits to the facility beforehand are vital. While there all advocates recommend that family members ask specific questions of staff members. This allows both a way to get more information and to better understand the individuals who will be providing the actual care to your loved one. If possible visits on two different days and times will provide an overall better perspective on life in the home. Other resources that our Illinois nursing home lawyers recommend include the “nursing home checklist” provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) and the CMS paying for nursing home care handbook
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