Choosing the Best Nursing Home

Finding the best nursing home for a loved one can seem like a daunting task, even more so when someone is faced with this dilemma for the first time. Due to the negative news coverage and the lack of general knowledge by most of the public, this task can be overwhelming. However, by becoming familiar with the legislation and personal affiliated with nursing care homes, one can be sure that they have made the right choice.

There are several available tools with which one should be familiar. For instance, the Resident’s Bill of Rights clearly states to what nursing home residents are entitled. These rights include but are not limited to:

The right to:

o Freedom from verbal and mental abuse

o Lean and safe conditions

o Privacy during spousal visits

o Transfer or discharge for only medical reasons or due to personal desire

o Not be required to perform services for the facility

In addition to this bill of rights there are certain laws by which nursing homes themselves must abide. These laws, brought into effect by the Nursing Home Reform Act, state the following:

Nursing care homes must:

o Employ sufficient staff in order to provided care which is effective and efficient

o Develop and administer personalized care plans for each individual

o Provide 24-hour access to a physician

o Provide care that promotes and prevents deterioration of residents’ ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs)

o Provide necessary means to promote good nutrition, hydration and hygiene

o Allow residents to choose activities consistent with individual interests

A copy of these rights and laws must be available to all residents and their families from all senior living services centers. If one encounters a facility in which this is not available he or she should contact the Local Long Term Care Ombudsman’s Office.

This office was set up via the Nursing Home Reform Act. This office is available to help nursing facility residents and their families; its purpose is to be an advocate for residents’ rights, educate providers and consumers, resolve residents; complaints and ensure that information is provided to the public.

Once one has familiarized him or herself with these available tools he or she should also consider what his or her loved one needs. Some facilities are better equipped to take care of specialized needs than others. The loved one may require intense supervision or could need only basic help with daily needs, which can be taken care of within assisted living nursing homes as opposed to skilled nursing homes. Understanding exactly what the individual’s needs are will help in finding the best place for them.

Finally, one should make certain that he or she checks out many different locations. Selecting a few facilities which one believes meets all of the needs of the potential resident and then conducting phone interviews will help to narrow the field. Before making a final selection one should visit each considered nursing home and visit with resident, any present family member and the staff. Doing all of these things will make finding the perfect place easy.

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