Choosing a Nursing Home for a Loved One

By: Nicholas DiCello

One of the most difficult decisions many of us will have to make is whether to place a family member in a nursing home. And selecting the right nursing home can be equally challenging. As with most things, there are good nursing homes and there are bad ones. By planning ahead, you can to research your options and feel confident that you’ve made the right choices.

When a family member needs a nursing home following a hospital stay, the treating doctor may recommend a particular nursing home. While the doctor may have good reason for this recommendation, sometimes there are other considerations, such as an affiliation with that facility. Most of us would like to make such an important decision only after doing some of our own research. Here are some tips to help you make this important decision:

1. TOUR THE NURSING HOME FACILITY

Make sure to see all areas accessible to residents and be aware of important indicators, including security measures, whether the residents look well cared-for, are getting the assistance they need, and are enjoying their meals. Is the facility clean? Get your questions answered, such as:

  • ž How many employees are there per resident? What is the employee turn-over rate? What is the employee background check process?
  • ž How often is each resident seen by a physician?
  • ž How often are residents bathed?
  • ž Who is my contact if I have questions or concerns?
  • ž What liability insurance does the facility carry?

2. WHAT TO EXPECT

The admission process usually involves an Orientation. Be friendly with the staff - these are the folks who will be responsible for your relative’s daily care. You will be asked to fill out many forms. Once admitted, an initial assessment will be done. Ask to be present and communicate your understanding of your relative’s condition and needs. Then a Care Plan may be created. Feel free to provide input.

3. KEEP A FILE OF ALL DOCUMENTS YOU SUBMIT TO AND RECEIVE FROM THE NURSING HOME.

4. BE AWARE OF THE GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES.

It is best to try to resolve any issues informally directly with the caretakers. You may find the facility’s ombudsman an important resource to help resolve your concerns. If you cannot resolve the issue, you should consider a grievance.

5. INCLUDE YOUR FAMILY MEMBER IN THESE IMPORTANT DECISIONS.

It is not uncommon that families draw closer together as they go through this process and unite to support their loved one. Whether you are deciding whether it’s time for a nursing home, deciding which facility is best, or trying to ensure that the nursing home stay is as happy and safe as possible, being involved and informed will make for a more meaningful experience for the whole family.

RESOURCES FOR NURSING HOME RESEARCH:

Medicare: www.Medicare.gov

Ohio Long-Term Care Consumer Guide: ltc.ohio.gov

If you suspect that your loved one has been neglected or abused in a nursing home, do not wait to take action. Contact Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP today to speak with a Cleveland nursing home abuse attorney.

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