10 Tips on Choosing a Nursing Home From A Former Long Term Care Facility Ombudsman

Choosing a Nursing Home for a loved is a very important decision in a person’s life. There is never enough information available to consume while the decision is being reached. Today while looking around the Internet we found a great guide with 10 tips from Karen Westerberg Reyes which is featured on the AARP Magazine website.

Ms. Westerberg Reyes used to operate as a ombudsman for Long-Term Care facilities in California for three years, therefore she has been asked many questions on this topic. She has also seen all kinds of nursing homes from excellent to bad. Needless to say, she is an expert on these matters. You can see her first 5 tips below. The next 5 can be viewed by clicking the link at the bottom:

  1. File an appeal to buy yourself more time.
    About half of all nursing-home admissions follow at least a brief hospital stay, where you may get as little as 24 hours’ notice to find a facility. If the patient is on Medicare, tell hospital administrators you want to appeal the discharge. This will automatically give you two extra days to check out the nursing homes in your area. Be sure to use all the resources the acute care hospital has on hand—social workers, nurses, doctors, administrators, anyone who is willing to answer your questions and give you information.
  2. Get the list.
    Begin your search for a nursing home with the Eldercare Locator (800-677-1116). This agency will put you in touch with your local Area Agency on Aging, which will give you a list of nursing homes in your area. It also will provide contact information for the local long-term care ombudsman. Ombudsmen aren’t allowed to recommend one facility over another, but if you ask them specific questions about staffing, continuing problems, and administration turnover, they will answer.
  3. Look close to home.
    Once you have a list of facilities, start with the ones nearest your home. It’s not only more convenient for you, it’s also almost always a guarantee that your charge will be well cared for. That’s because nursing home staffs are keenly aware of the residents who get regular visitors and, because they don’t want any complaints, they tend to bestow just a bit more care on those patients.
  4. Pop in unannounced.
    If your first visit is during regular business hours, don’t make an appointment—you’ll get a better idea of how the facility is run. Just walk in and ask for the administrator, who should be on site. If not, ask for the next person in charge to show you around. Be sure to ask about the ratio of caregivers to residents or seek a copy of the staffing schedule. Do you smell urine, feces, or other bad odors? Also, pay special attention to corners and windows: these are often the first places where shoddy cleaning shows up.
  5. Go to the bathroom.
    Any restroom in the public areas will do. Sure, evaluate the overall cleanliness—but what you really want to check out is the hot water, the lack of which is a common complaint in a lot of nursing homes, especially larger ones.For the rest of the tips please click here
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