New Year, old problem: Nursing home care is not improving. And although I believe that lawsuits on behalf of residents seriously injured by abuse and neglect provide incentives for corporate caregivers to improve care, there is no remedy as good as prevention. And prevention is first the responsibility of the family, and choosing the nursing home is likely to be the most critical exercise of that responsibility. This should be the New Year’s resolution for all who choose nursing homes on behalf of loved ones in 2016 and beyond.
Medicare’s Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home is a great place to start. The guide is 67 pages and contains a checklist to use when you make a visit to nursing homes as well as a section on how to pay for nursing home care.
Also, Medicare.gov’s Nursing Home Compare allows you to search nursing homes by state, county or name. You can look at a nursing home’s last 3 inspection results. Nursing homes are rated by 5 start system which takes into account quality measures, staffing and inspection results. Quality measures show, among other things, how well the nursing home helps people keep their ability to dress and eat, or how well the nursing home prevents and treats skin ulcers
This information provides families with a tool for protecting elderly family members. Take an ounce of prevention and someone you love will be better for it. It might save their life.