Nursing homes are not all the same.
Many aging adults spend some time in a nursing home.
The staff and nurses can help you live your life when you can no longer be fully independent.
Nursing homes can be quite pleasant.
Others can be problematic.
According to a recent AARP article titled “Finding a Nursing Home: Don’t Wait Until You Need One to Do the Research” and a recent CMS article titled “Find a nursing home,” you should do your research in advance when choosing one.
By comparing facilities in advance you will be able to best determine who provides high-quality care and who should be avoided.
Attractive websites can be deceptive so it is important to be through.
The websites should list services provided, industry affiliations, and certifications.
Check out daily menus.
Are the meals nutritious?
Is there variety in the food?
Review the calendar.
Are there planned social events?
Do these look appealing?
If floor plans are available on the rooms, give them a look.
Your primary care physician may have some ideas.
Request a list of those to avoid as well.
You do not need to stop here.
Friends, family, and relatives can provide ample information from personal experience.
Local Office on Aging.
Did you know every state government has an department devoted to seniors?
Reach out to the department for your state for information on local nursing homes.
The information should include deaths, injuries, complaints, regulation violation, and safety records.
Long-term Care Ombudsman (LCO).
The Ombudsman for your estate investigates advocates for nursing home residents and investigates allegations.
The LCO in your state should have a wealth of information.
State Online Database or Reporting System.
Not every state had online databases for nursing home reports.
If your states does, this can be a valuable resource.
“Nursing Home Compare” website from Medicare.
If a nursing home gets funding from Medicaid or Medicare, it is on the database.
You can search by zip code or even by the name of the facility.
It even lists long-term care facilities.
If you specifically want to identify problem facilities, you can review the Special Focus Facility area of the site.
Once you have done your initial research you can focus on narrowing down your options.
List top candidates.
Four or five options should be suitable.
These top candidates should have good reputations and best meet your needs.
Seeing a place in person is very different from looking at pictures or videos online.
Use your senses.
Is it clean?
Are they trying to mask foul odors?
Are residents groomed, clean, and dressed in fresh clothes?
Are the staff members attentive and caring?
Do people who require assistance get timely help?
Do not rely solely on online reviews.
Reviews on the internet can be faked.
If what you see does not match the good reviews, move along.
Once you have done your research, you should be able to confidently make a nursing home selection to meet your needs and wants.
Alternatively, if you are in the Greater Kansas City area and want the engage the services of an expert in all things “senior care,” to include finding the right long-term care arrangement for you or your loved ones, then contact Steve Kuker host of the “Senior Care Live!” heard weekly on KMBZ 980.
I have known Steve since high school and he is the real deal.
References: AARP. (accessed December 5, 2019) “Finding a Nursing Home: Don’t Wait Until You Need One to Do the Research.” CMS. (accessed December 5, 2019) “Find a nursing home.”