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Tips for Choosing a Nursing Home for Your Loved One

While no one ever envisions themselves moving to a nursing home, sometimes a change in medical condition and finances may lead to that as an option. Whether you are shopping for a car or choosing a nursing home, you want to do your homework. If you do not know anything about nursing homes it can be a challenge to know what questions to ask or, research.
When looking at nursing homes here are some tips and suggestions for you to use before you sign an admissions agreement:

1. Visiting Potential Nursing Homes: While you may want to go during normal business hours for a tour consider going back a second time later during the afternoon or early evening. Pay close attention to the number of staff compared to the number of residents (is the facility properly staffed). Watch to see how long it takes a staff member to respond to a resident ringing the call bell. If you see a resident’s family member visiting, ask them if they would be willing to answer some questions about their loved one’s experience and the quality of services provided.

2. Avoid Financially Guaranteeing Payment: If your loved one is unable to sign the admissions agreement and you are signing beware of language that may make your personally liable for payment. Many nursing homes still use language such as ‘responsible party.’ If you see those words cross them out before you sign. It is a violation of federal law for a nursing home to condition admitting a person on someone else guarantying payment. Before signing an admissions agreement have it reviewed by an attorney for this and other reasons.

3. Review the Facility’s Ratings: You can read inspection reports that are posted by the Agency for Healthcare Administration. The reports will tell you whether a facility was cited, for what and if it was corrected, and other concerns. Click here to run a search and compare inspection ratings. The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has also developed a rating system for nursing homes. You can access it by clicking here. CMS also has helpful tips and a checklist you can use.

Be an informed consumer so that you can make the best decision for your loved one.

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