When it comes time to consider a facility to care for your aging loved one, it is not always easy to know how to judge your options. Nursing home facilities range in quality and offerings, and the relative quality of the facilities may or may not indicate the level of care and dependability present in a given care facility.
If you do not carefully consider all your options, your loved one may suffer unnecessarily. Nursing home abuse or malpractice can occur anywhere, and any work you can do ahead of time to identify potential problems is certainly worth the effort.
Areas of concern for potential residents
If a facility is high caliber, then it is likely to have good reviews and Medicare ratings. You can compare and research the Medicare ratings of over 15,000 different facilities on the Medicare website using the Nursing Home Compare function.
You should also consider the number and severity of complaints filed with the state. The state health department should keep records of any complaints made against a given facility. You can use these to get a sense of any serious problem areas, and whether a certain patient had an isolated experience that frustrated him or her or if a greater pattern of poor treatment and care exists.
It is also wise to consider the turnover rates for staff at a given facility. If a particular facility does not seem to retain staff for more than a few months or so at a time, it is probably wise to consider another facility. High turnover rates in any facility generally indicates that the company does not treat its employees very well, which usually translates to poor patient care as well.
Important functions of a quality facility
If you find a facility that you think may fit your family's needs, consider speaking with the family of patients already in the facility during a visit. Getting the family's input as customers of the facility is often very eye opening to the day-to-day operations of a given facility.
Among other things to consider, be sure to look into the infection rates for patients in the facility. Most homes can provide data about the infection rates within the facility going back months or even years.
Don't hesitate to fight poor treatment
If you do find that a nursing home does not properly care for your loved one, you may consider a malpractice suit against the facility. Be sure that you build a strong, well-documented case to keep your rights protected as you pursue a just resolution for your family.