Advice from Dedicated Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys

Here are some steps that can help ensure your loved one receives quality care.

First, determine the type of care your loved one requires, and locate facilities that provide that type of care in your area:

  • Does your family member need assistance with the majority of the activities of daily life, such as eating and dressing, and will he or she require this assistance for the foreseeable future? If so, your loved one likely requires long-term custodial care.
  • Is your loved one recovering from an illness or medical procedure, and requires only short-term assistance during that recovery period? If so, he or she likely requires only short-term recovery care.

Compare the quality of the facilities in your area:

  • Every year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services collect data on more than 15,000 nursing homes throughout the country. They gather health inspection data, staffing and other quality measures to produce an overall ranking of one to five stars. This information is available on the Medicare website. Be sure to compare the rankings of the facilities you are considering.
  • Visit the facilities. Nothing can replace an in-person visit to the nursing home you are considering. Be sure to visit more than once and at different times of day. Ask to tour the facility on your own. Trust your five senses and your instincts. Does the facility have an odor? Are the staff members friendly and interacting with the residents? Are the rooms and common areas clean and bright?
  • While you're at the facility, speak with the staff and the other patients. Sometimes a casual conversation can reveal a lot about the facility, including whether your loved one will be happy there.
  • Develop a list of questions and ask to speak to the director of the facility.
  • Call your ombudsman for more information. Every state has a federally funded long-term care ombudsman who acts as an advocate for nursing home patients. The ombudsman can tell you if there are state or local rankings available in addition to the Medicare ratings. The ombudsman can also direct you to the latest information regarding specific nursing homes, including health inspection reports and complaints.