How to Identify a Bad Nursing Home
One of the things many families face as our loved ones age is finding a suitable nursing home to care for an elderly relative. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities vary in the types of patients they accept, the services they offer, and the care they deliver. While some nursing homes may initially appear to offer the services you want and the staff may say everything you want to hear, it still prudent to look for objective measures of quality of care.
There are more than 400 nursing homes in North Carolina. Finding a good nursing home in North Carolina starts with knowing how to identify warning signs of a bad one. We want to help you be able to see past the promises and hype and make an informed decision. For starters, make sure the nursing home is Medicaid and Medicare certified.
When looking for nursing home, we advise you stay away from ones with:
- High turnover rates: If nursing home residents and staff are happy, they will stay. When staff are not happy with their job or the conditions of their employ, they will either leave or take it out on those in their care. You do not want either. High turnover rates are a bad sign.
- A low Medicare star rating: Medicare.gov assigns star ratings to nursing homes based on a variety of factors. All you need to do is enter your zip code to compare the ratings of nursing homes based on health inspections, staffing quality measures, and overall rating.
- A number of serious violations: Not all violations are of the same level of severity. When looking for a nursing home, take the time to find out how many reported violations it has and the basis for each violation. Nursing homes cited for severe violations should be avoided.
- Heavy restrictions on the independence of residents: When you admit a loved one to a nursing home, you do not want one that puts heavy restrictions on his or her independence. You want to provide a safe place where your loved one will still be able to have a certain level of freedom, maintain decision-making responsibilities, and feel at home.
Most importantly, you want to avoid any nursing home that leaves you feeling uneasy or uncomfortable. Meet with the nursing home administrator of prospective nursing homes and ask about their restraint policies, the ratio of personal care staff to residents, how often doctors visit, and the social calendar for residents. Do residents appear well groomed and dressed? Choosing a nursing home is not a minor decision. You need to trust your instincts. The future health and well-being of your loved one depends largely on the choices you make.
What is the Five-Star Quality Rating System?
The Five-Star Quality Rating System was created by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to give consumers, their families, and caregivers a way to assess the quality of a nursing home or care facility.
Nursing homes are rated between 1-5 stars along three primary categories: health inspections, staffing, and quality measures. Those nursing homes with a higher number of stars can be expected to have above average quality and standards, whereas those with low star ratings are considered to be below average.
While this rating system does not necessarily address all of the issues that could affect your decision, it does provide a basis of comparison.
The Importance of Adequate Staffing
Adequate staffing is key when it comes to the quality of nursing home care. Unless a nursing home has sufficient staff to provide a high-level of quality care to its residents, your loved one may not receive the attention he or she requires and deserves. Some nursing home facilities attempt to cut corners on staffing in an effort to save money. This often dramatically lowers the quality of care and can put residents at risk.
Choosing the Right Nursing Home Based on Your Loved One’s Needs
When looking for the right nursing home, you will want to choose one based on your loved one’s specific needs. The right nursing home will treat your loved one with dignity and respect and provide the high-quality care and services he or she needs to maintain health and security.
Are you looking for a long-term care facility or assisted living? Do you need to find a facility that specializes in providing care for those with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other disabilities? Does your loved one have a terminal illness? In addition to nursing homes, many areas have a number of community services designed to assist with the personal care and provide activities for the elderly. Home health care, subsidized senior housing, residential care facilities, and Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) are among the options to consider before placing your loved one in a nursing home.
Our elderly loved ones have a right to receive appropriate care and be treated with dignity.
If you suspect that your loved one has become a victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, contact Hardison & Cochran at once. Our attorneys are aggressive advocates on behalf of nursing home abuse victims and their families. We are committed to helping your loved one fight for his or her rights. When you contact our firm, we will take the time to investigate your claims, advise you of your legal rights, and help you determine the course of action to pursue. Call us now to get started. Learn about Dehydration as a Sign of North Carolina Nursing Home Negligence.
There are also 4 resources for choosing a nursing home.
- gov: Nursing Home Compare and Your Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home or Other Long-Term Care
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: Five-Star Quality Rating System