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Warning Signs in Nursing Home Selection Process

In a U.S. News article a couple of months ago, a number of negative traits of nursing homes was discussed. The material is worth reviewing, because it offers critical advice for local residents going through the elder care process.

For any patient or family member of a patient, finding the right nursing home can be very stressful. With reports of neglect and abuse coming out too often, patients and their loved ones must carefully vet nursing homes and long-term facilities to ensure that the patient will receive the proper care and treatment, that staff will be attentive, and that the facility will operate at a minimum up to state and federal standards. On top of this, nursing homes are typically very expensive, and not everyone will qualify for Medicare and Medicaid payments, or for significant coverage by insurance. According to the U.S. News article, the median rate for a single room in a nursing home is $87,600 per year. This number derived from a survey of more than 14,800 nursing home care providers.

The article first points to the need to know a facility’s history of statutory or regulatory violations. States administer regulations over the management and standards at nursing homes within their territory, and the federal government, often in conjunction with states, enforces regulations that set the conditions for a facility receiving federal money through Medicare and Medicaid. This oversight generally leads to publicly documented records of violations that all those interested in nursing homes should research. For example, Medicare has a search tool (, and so, too, does the state of Illinois ( Other third parties also offer such resources ( There are other resources as well. It is important to note both the quantity and quality of investigations and registered violations. Where a patient suffered injury, or was malnourished or dehydrated, for example, even if it happened a handful of times over a long time period, that may be a telltale sign. It is also notable where the facility may have a documented history of attempting to misreport or cover up such incidents.

Staff Quality & Quantity

Additionally, those interested in a nursing home should look into staff attrition and turnover. Where staffers do not stay employed long, this may be a warning sign. Naturally, it is a more comfortable situation where staffers have been at a particular facility for several years if not more. Also, it is important to observe how the staffers interact with the patients. While they may put on a show in front of visitors, there could be moments that show a potential lack of care or where patients are wary of their caretakers, such as where they recoil from the or express an unwillingness to be near them. Observing the amount of interaction between patients and staff is vital. And, lastly, the article plainly states that those looking into facilities should follow their instincts. If it seems unclean, disorganized, and/or staff does not have a genuinely good rapport with the patients, then a person’s gut may say that it is the wrong situation.

Those looking into a nursing home or long-term care facility must do their due diligence. Looking at violation history, staff turnover, and the demeanor of patients are all important items on the checklist. In finding the right nursing home, there can be peace of mind and the knowledge that the resident and their loved ones can rest at ease.

See Other Blog Posts:

Monitoring Prescription Drug Use in Nursing Homes

Reports of Elder Abuse at a Kansas Nursing Home Involving Several Staff Members

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