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Back to the Basics: Choosing a Nursing Home

Making the choice to transition a loved one to a nursing home can be exhausting, frustrating, confusing, and stressful. Perhaps the most difficult part of this transition can be selecting the best nursing home to meet your loved one’s specific needs. Stories of nursing home abuse are scary and highlight some of the worst actions by care facilities. Reports of nursing home abuse and elder abuse are astonishingly high, with The National Center on Elder Abuse reported that in 2010 9.5% of the elder population was abused, including nursing home abuse. With nursing home abuse reports so high, it is essential that you carefully consider your options when selecting the best nursing home to meet your needs.

Consulting A Checklist
The first step to choosing a nursing home is to find the facilities in your area. Both the Illinois Department of Public Health and have helpful checklists to consult when reviewing different nursing homes. These checklists include items such as:

· Is the facility currently licensed?
· Are the staff and administrator helpful?
· Do the residents look well cared for?
· Is there a written statement of residents’ rights?
· Does the facility have a good reputation?
· Are there any reported issue with the nursing home?

Other considerations include:

· Location · Cleanliness · Safety · Medical, dental, and other services · Nursing staff · Food and nutrition services · Resident activities and rooms · Cost
The Illinois Department of Public Health also publishes updated quarterly reports of nursing home facilities that have violated state laws.

Visiting The Facility
The best way to compare the nursing homes you are considering is to visit each facility. An in-person visit offers many more advantages than a phone call with the facility administrator. A visit allows you to see whether the facility meets the above checklist. Visiting also can give you the chance to discuss everything with the staff and the residents (if appropriate) in person.

Paying for Long-Term Care
A key consideration is cost. Nursing homes that are certified by Medicare/Medicaid are required to inform residents and potential residents about all fees in writing. Additionally, Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes cannot require a cash deposit. Paying for a nursing home can be a challenge, but the state or your long-term care insurance may cover some or all of your costs. It is important to note that Medicare (and some forms of insurance) usually do not cover nursing home care. However, insurance or Medicare may be used to cover healthcare costs. Medicaid, administered jointly by the federal and state governments, may help to cover long-term care. Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services has published a helpful guide to applying for financial assistance.

Unfortunately, even if your nursing home choice appears to be a safe, healthy facility, abuse can happen. Bedsores, medication errors, overmedication, financial exploitation, and neglect are common forms of nursing home abuse. If you or a loved one have been a victim of these or other types of nursing home abuse, contact our experienced Illinois nursing home abuse attorneys today to discuss your legal options to prevent future abuse.

See Our Related Blog Post:
Illinois Working to Improve the Care and Protection of Seniors