Choosing A Nursing Home For Your Parents

nursing-home-abuse

CHOOSING A NURSING HOME FOR YOUR PARENT

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So many of the most important decisions we make in life are made when we are least prepared to make them.   So it is, when the time comes to choose whether, or which nursing home facility in which to place an aging parent.  It’s estimated that 60% of nursing home admissions are made from a hospital, rather than from a viagra soft tabs home, or an assisted living facility.  Your loved one may have suffered a broken a hip or a stroke, or may be suffering from dementia.  The time constraints in this type of situation press care givers to make a quick decision regarding care of their love one, without the luxury of investigation and due diligence that such a decision deserves.

We will attempt in this post, to review resources which are available to help you make a decision of this kind, whether the situation is a hurried one or not.  Making such a decision depends, in large measure, on the condition of the parent and what types of care or treatment will be required for their individual circumstances.  It will largely depend on whether they are injured due to a broken hip, or other disabling condition, suffering from Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia, or other conditions.

There is a growing amount of information available online to assist in this process.  At the federal government level, there are many resources to assist.  The website, http://www.eldercare.gov/eldercare.NET/Public/index.aspx is a good place to begin.  You can either search by location or by topic to find resources available in your state or city.  There are a large number of resources listed on this site which address many of the concerns and problems faced by care givers to our aging populations.

Additionally, to assist with evaluating potential nursing homes, a publication called, Your Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home, (http://www.medicare.gov/pubs/pdf/02174.pdf)  presents a fairly complete outline of considerations when attempting to evaluate a place for an aging parent.   Subjects such as “Choosing the Type of Care You Need” to “Steps to Choosing a Nursing Home” are included.  The Nursing Home Checklist (http://www.medicare.gov/nursing/checklist.asp) will also provide many ideas for evaluating and screening potential facilities.

The federal government also funds state level Ombudsmen to assist in these matters.  The National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center website (http://www.aging.state.nv.us/) will allow you to find these resources in your state.  For Nevada, that contact information can be found here. (http://www.aging.state.nv.us/)  The Las Vegas office of the Ombudsman can be called at (702) 486-3545.  Concerns ranging from finding an appropriate care facility to reporting cases of elder abuse can be directed to the State Ombudsman’s office.

Among non-government agencies, there are many advocacy groups that can also provide assistance.  The Consumer Voice provides a Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home .

http://www.theconsumervoice.org/sites/default/files/advocate/A-Consumer-Guide-To-Choosing-A-Nursing-Home.pdf ) This organization also provides private ombudsman services to families and residents of nursing facilities.  Another privately funded website provides a registry and grading of nursing homes is http://www.memberofthefamily.net/.  This site provides listings of Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing homes and grades various aspects of the operations of the nursing home.

Beyond these and other resources that you may uncover in your search for a nursing home, many of the considerations you may want or need to consider have to do with costs.  Medicare will only pay for medically necessary care in a nursing home.  It will not pay for non-medical everyday assistance with normal living.  If your loved one needs assistance with walking or eating, these things are not covered.  Most nursing home costs are paid out of personal savings, social security benefits, Long Term Care (LTC)  insurance benefits, or Medicaid if the patient qualifies.  Nursing home costs are estimated to average $200 per day for patients, and this doesn’t include cost for treatment needed for additional services, such as dementia care, for example.  Long Term Care insurance must be purchased and in force, prior to your loved one’s need for services.

Once you’ve done the initial research, nothing replaces visiting the facility and seeing for yourself.  Visit often and at various unexpected times, to be sure that the facility is the type of environment you would want your parent or loved one to be exposed to.  Considerations include turnover rate of personnel in the home.  Does the home offer “consistent assignment” which means do nurses and aids treat the same patients on most of their shifts.  Consistency and familiarity are important considerations for your loved one.  Relationships built between patient and nursing home staff can provide a measure of security for your loved one.  If a home employs a high number of temporary workers, or turnover is high, that consistency can be lost.

Four items to think about in any nursing home placement include, how convenient is the home to all family members, quality of care for chronic conditions including dementia and/or physical disability, supportive environment for the potential resident, and do costs fall within an affordable range.  And once this decision is made and your parent or grandparent is now in such a facility, keeping an eye open for negligence or even abuse is important.  Unfortunately, this is a growing problem as our population ages and requires higher levels of care.  So if such a thing should happen to your loved one, the services of a trusted attorney may be required.  Our firm does provide such services, and more information can be found here.  (http://www.richardharrislaw.com/personal-injury/nevada-nursing-home-abuse-lawyer.php)

Additional resources:

http://www.medicare.gov/pubs/pdf/02174.pdf

http://www.medicare.gov/nursing/checklist.asp

http://www.theconsumervoice.org/sites/default/files/advocate/A-Consumer-Guide-To-Choosing-A-Nursing-Home.pdf

http://www.memberofthefamily.net/

http://www.eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/Public/Index.aspx

http://www.ltcombudsman.org/

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/best-nursing-homes/articles/2013/02/26/how-to-choose-a-nursing-home

http://guides.wsj.com/health/elder-care/how-to-choose-a-nursing-home/

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/20/health/20patient.html?ref=health&_r=0

http://www.richardharrislaw.com/personal-injury/nevada-nursing-home-abuse-lawyer.php

 

 

 

About Leigh St John

Leigh St John is the Executive Director of The Masters' Media Group, publishers of Senior Guide USA ~ a comprehensive resource directory for seniors. The various state senior guides provide free information about homes, health, services and leisure activities. http://seniorguideusa.com
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