Top Ten Important Considerations for Choosing a Nursing Home

A recent report that our nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys have been following gives an expert recommended list of ten top considerations for choosing nursing home care.

• Discuss with the resident what their goals and expectations are proactively, before the resident goes into the home. Also discuss the diagnosis with health-care providers to determine what kind of care is needed: from a nursing facility, to community based-care, long-term care, or other possible institution options.

• Always start looking for an establishment that is close to family and friends, so visitation is easy and accessible.

• Search the Nursing Home Compare Website, which lists Medicare-and Medicaid certified facilities with Five-Star ratings that compare national quality standards on short-term as well as long-term care.

• Always meet with the administrator, to discuss care planning, safety systems, wander alerts, specialized services, policies and the cost. Also ask about policies on physical and chemical restraints, as well as the nursing facilities’ history of bedsores or decubitus ulcers.

• Visit the home at least twice to check the level of care—both at busy times, as well as times when the staff is less busy. Try to witness the level of care during mealtimes, as well as early evenings, or just before a staff shift change.

• Always ask questions before home placement from the administrator, the residents, their families and the nursing staff. Ask about the staff turnover, and how many staff members there will be caring for each resident.

• Monitor the nursing home staff for friendliness, patience, helpfulness, and responsiveness. Listen to how the staff communicates to the residents and visitors, to prevent possible resident negligence or abuse.

• Check out the public bathrooms for cleanliness, disrepair, and make sure there is hot water. Use your senses to measure the home environment for any sights, smells, sounds that could give an indication how the resident might be treated.

• Also inspect the kitchen facility for cleanliness, and ask questions about the variety of food that prepared every day. Find out if there is a registered dietitian on staff who is interested in providing well-balanced meals for the proper care and well being of the nursing home residents.

• Notice where the residents are located when you visit, look to see if residents are dressed, and monitor the level of activities to see what kind of programs are encouraged and taking place. Keep an eye out for groups of residents who only watch television, or who aren’t being dressed or engaged in activities.

In a previous post from last week, our Maryland abuse and neglect lawyers at Lebowitz and Mzhen, LLC further discussed the importance of basic planning to carefully select the right nursing home in Maryland and the Washington D. C. area for your friend or loved one—to prevent nursing home abuse and negligence.

Ten Things to Consider in Nursing-Home Care, Scripps Howard News Service, Basic Planning Tips for Nursing Home Care Selections, November 29, 2009
Special Report: Basic Planning Pays Off When Selecting Nursing Home, Scripps Howard News Service, November 26, 2009

Related Web Resources:

Maryland Health Care Commission, Nursing Home Guide

Starting the Nursing Home Search, AARP

U.S. Nursing Home Information & Registry from Member of the Family.net</a
Medicare: Nursing Home Compare Website

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