Searching for a care home or nursing home for a loved one is never an easy task. In fact, it’s one of the saddest and most stressful things you may ever have to do. Unfortunately, there may come a time for nearly everyone when home care and assisted living are no longer options, and loved ones must start considering long-term care homes.
There are plenty of high-quality reputable nursing homes and care homes for people who are willing to take the time to look, but that search is often made too quickly and under duress. 60 percent of nursing home admissions are made by hospitals, and while hospitals can provide the quality short-term care they are under pressure to discharge their patients quickly. It is not uncommon for patients who require long-term rehabilitation to be admitted into less-than-reputable care homes because of this.
You may have precious little time to perform research on care homes in your area, but by making due with the time that you have and keeping some of these tips in mind you should be able to find a quality home for a loved one in need.
Tip 1: Research the data first
The Centres for Medicare and Medicaid compile data on over 15,000 care homes throughout the country every year. These homes are ranked in quality of one to five stars based on health inspection data, staffing, and quality measures.
This is a great place to start your research, but keep in mind that rankings and inspections do have their limits and only reflect the quality of facilities over a certain period of time. Furthermore, the grading system only allows 10 percent of all homes to earn a five-star rating, which means a cheaper four-star nursing home that just missed the percentage cut-off may be just as good as a five-star home.
Tip 2: Visit care homes in your area
Professional ratings and reviews may be good places to start your research, but they are no substitute for your own observations. Before you admit a loved one to a home, take the time to visit it yourself. Make sure the facility looks clean, and that the staff is friendly and courteous to you and the residents. Speak to the executive director, lead physician, head nurse, and other lead staff members and ask them if the facility engages in person-centered care and consistent assignment. Person-centered care allows patients to set their own schedules, and consistent assignment refers to the practice of assigning the same staff members to treat the same patients on every shift. These are two major buzzwords in the long-term care industry, and any reputable care homes will give you straight answers when asked about them.
Tip 3: Consult your state’s ombudsman
If you are in the USA then every state has a long-term care ombudsman who is an advocate of nursing home residents and an authority on long-term care homes. This person can give you information on health inspections, staffing, quality of care in nursing homes and even if there have been any significant changes in care homes. You can contact your state’s ombudsman at the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Centre.