Even if they plan to return home, many elderly hospital patients require some level of skilled nursing care after a hospital stay. Many of the families I represent in nursing home neglect cases placed their loved one in a nursing home after being provided a referral from the hospital. I often wonder, “Why in the world did that hospital refer them to that nursing home?” Turns out, a Medicare rule has deterred hospitals from providing recommendations or quality information. Thankfully, Medicare is on the verge of changing that rule.
Families need access to the best care information, and hospitals are an important link in the information chain. Hospitals treat residents from nursing homes who are harmed because of abuse and neglect, so the hospital staff knows who the repeat offenders are. Additionally, health care professionals can evaluate publicly available information, such as Medicare.gov, better than consumers. So a referral from a hospital can seem like an endorsement, which may lead families to ask fewer questions than if they had received no referral.
How to Choose a Quality Nursing Home after a Hospital Stay
Until the rule change becomes effective, families should always ask questions of hospitals about the nursing homes they are considering. If you’re seeking a home for an elderly loved one, advise the social worker that you prefer a high-quality nursing home and want to know if the nursing homes on the list are high quality. Review Medicare.gov’s Nursing Home Compare and visit the facility before making a final decision. Of course, once you choose the nursing home, visit as often as permitted and ask questions about the care being delivered. Never assume that a nursing home is a quality care facility just because it was on a hospital referral sheet.
If you feel like the nursing home you’ve chosen is neglecting or abusing your loved one, even if the home was recommended by a hospital, contact Andy Arnold today to see if you have a case. Your first consultation with the Horton Law Firm is free of charge.
Note: The new presidential administration may call for a reversal of this rule change. We will continue to monitor this rule for updates.