Choosing a Nursing Home

Choosing a Nursing Home

Selecting the Right Long-Term Care Home in Cleveland, Ohio

Making the choice to put a loved one in a long-term care home is difficult and often painful, but it is often the best thing for an elderly person. Given that the facility you choose is likely to take on the vast majority of your loved one's care—everything from assisting with daily activities such as eating and dressing to providing medical care including physical therapy and check-ups—it is important that you carefully research the nursing home and thoroughly investigate the facility you choose. On this page, our Cleveland nursing home abuse attorneys at Spangenberg Shibley & Liber offer advice to help you as you select the best nursing home for your loved one.

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.

Once you choose a facility, here are a few more steps to help you protect your loved ones:

  • 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:
  • Ask whether the facility requires you to sign an arbitration agreement. An arbitration agreement will require you to resolve disputes with the facility outside of court. They often limit your rights and remedies in the event of a dispute or, worse yet, an injury to your loved one. In many states, including Ohio, you cannot be forced to sign an arbitration clause before being accepted into a nursing home. If a nursing home won't accept your loved one without an arbitration agreement, you should look elsewhere.
  • Execute a power of attorney for your loved one before he or she enters the facility. In the event of an incident or injury, you need to have a properly executed power of attorney to get quick access to medical records and investigation reports. You don't want to have to jump through these hoops while also trying to handle such a difficult and potentially tragic situation as an injury.
  • Know 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.
  • Know your rights. You and your loved one have rights. They are set forth in Ohio's Nursing Home Residents' Bill of Rights. Facilities are required to provide you with a copy of the relevant provisions, and to post a copy in the facility.
  • Keep the lines of communication open. Many problems can be addressed, or avoided entirely, with open communication. Start with the understanding that you, your loved one and the facility will maintain communication, and then keep in touch. Nothing substitutes for communication to keep the staff focused on providing top-level care.
  • Keep a file of all documents you submit to and receive from the nursing home.
  • 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.
  • Include your family members 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.

Schedule a Consultation at Spangenberg if You Suspect Abuse or Neglect

We’re here for you if your loved one has been a victim. We encourage you to call us as soon as possible for important information about your rights.

For more information about what to do if you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, or to learn more about our nursing home abuse attorneys, call Spangenberg Shibley & Liber today at (216) 600-0114 and arrange a free consultation with our knowledgeable team.

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