Tips for Choosing a Nursing Home

December 12, 2013

For many individuals and their families, choosing a nursing home is a challenging decision that coincides with a stressful time.  Because there are so many considerations, these tips are aimed to assist you and your family in making an informed choice.

1. Find nursing homes in your area

The state of Ohio offers an online Long-Term Care Consumer Guide that allows you to search for nursing homes in your area. The search results also offer family satisfaction scores for your review. Medicare offers a Nursing Home Compare tool that also allows you to search for nursing homes by location.

Ask a doctor or nurse you trust to recommend a nursing home.  Ask trusted friends, family, and other resources for their recommendations.

2. Research the nursing home

A broad range of federal and state laws are in place to govern nursing homes and protect their residents.  Roughly once a year, an Ohio Department of Health representative performs an inspection of each Ohio nursing home and records violations. The Ohio Department of Health also may perform an inspection when a complaint is filed against a nursing home.  The results are available on Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website (enter the name of the nursing home, look for “Health Inspections”, and click on “View All Inspections”). Before choosing a nursing home, be sure to review the nursing home’s inspection results.  You can also check up on the nursing home’s fire safety inspection scores in the same place.

Be aware that federal and state laws set minimum staffing levels for nursing homes.  Despite minimum staffing requirements, the law also requires that each resident receive a level of care that meets their needs.  Some staffing statistics are reported by the nursing home and made available on the Medicare Nursing Home Compare tool.  Review the nursing home’s staffing statistics to see if a staffing shortage was reported.

3. Tour the facility

Take a tour of the facilities you are seriously considering.  Before the visit, prepare a list of questions you want answered. Do not be afraid to ask a nursing home representative about the nursing home’s health and fire inspection performances, or any concern you have after researching the facility.

When you visit the facility, keep staffing in mind and look around for staff presence.  Ask targeted questions to the nursing home representative regarding the level of staffing provided.

Here is a more detailed guide on choosing a nursing home provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which includes a list of questions you may want to ask when on a nursing home tour.

The attorneys at Lowe Scott Fisher Co., LPA in Cleveland, Ohio provide free consultations to nursing home residents and their families who have suffered injury, neglect, or abuse at a nursing home.  If you or a loved one needs to talk to a nursing home injury attorney, contact us at (216) 781-2600.

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