Choosing a Nursing Home

Choosing a Nursing Home

Beginning the Nursing Home Search

When choosing a nursing home, do a personal visit to each nursing home facility under consideration. Go through the following checklist to aid your visit:

  • When you first walk into the nursing home, notice how the facility smells.
  • Does this nursing home appear clean and well organized?
  • Does the nursing home staff seem helpful and attentive to residents?

These simple observations will alert you to the conditions that nursing home residents live with daily.

  • Ask to talk with the Nursing Home Administrator or the Director of Nursing.
  • Ask to see the written policies about situations that might concern you.
  • Find out whether those policies are actually followed and how violations of these policies are documented.
  • Are you getting honest, straightforward answers? Trust your gut. Notice when the answers are inconsistent with what you have observed.
  • Talk with the nursing home staff and residents to gain more perspective on day-to-day life.

Do Your Research

Once you're considering choosing a nursing home, call the Texas Department of Human Services (1-800-458-9858) or visit their website for more information on a particular nursing home. The TDHS regularly inspects and surveys nursing homes and keeps a database of any violations, complaints, and investigations on nursing homes in Texas. This database includes information such as:

  • Has the TDHS proposed any terminations for this nursing home facility in the last two years?
  • How many complaints have been filed against this nursing home facility in the past two years?
  • Out of the complaints filed against this nursing home, how many complaints were valid?
  • Has this nursing home facility been cited in the past two years?
  • How many "quality of care" violations have been cited in the past two years?
  • Has the owner of this nursing home facility had other facilities recommended for termination?

The Health Care Financing Administration maintains a database of every Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing home in the country. This database contains state by state rankings, including reports on problem nursing homes and other elder care facilities. Anyone involved in choosing a nursing home should review these reports before making their final choice of a nursing home.

Ask Tough Questions of the Nursing Home

While visiting a nursing home, ask the Administrator and/or Director of Nursing tough questions such as the following:

  • Can you show me the most recent survey report and any follow up reports from the Texas Department of Human Services?
  • Can I see the complaints or reports filed against the nursing home facility?
  • What types of complaints were filed against this nursing home facility in the past?
  • What are your hiring policies? Where do you find your employees?
  • What is the nursing home facility's policy about the ratio of nurses aides to residents for the day, evening and night shifts?
  • Are the nurses aides certified?
  • What kind of turnover do you experience for nurses and nurses aides?
  • What is the ratio of registered nurses to nursing home residents for the day, evening and night shifts?
  • Is there an independent nursing home resident family council at this facility? Please give me the name and telephone number of the president.
  • How many nursing home residents are physically or chemically restrained? What is the facility policy about the use of restraints? May I see the policy?
  • How many nursing home residents have pressure sores or bed sores? How many of these residents developed the pressure sores or bed sores in the facility? What do you do to prevent pressure sores and bed sores? How do you treat pressure sores and bed sores?
  • What is the facility policy about what administrative steps must be taken before a resident can be taken to the hospital for an emergency?
  • What do you do to help residents with range of motion to help prevent immobility?
  • What type of planned activities are offered to keep residents mentally alert and socially engaging? How do you deal with residents' behavior problems?
  • How does a Medicaid resident's treatment and level of service differ from that of a non-Medicaid resident?

Our Commitment to Nursing Home Residents and their Families

Need additional guidance or information on choosing a nursing home? Despite best efforts, nursing home abuse may still be a risk to your elderly family members. Contact the Rasansky Law Firm online, or call our offices anytime at 1-877-659-1620 to discuss your situation with our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys. In the complimentary consultation, our attorneys will review your experiences and situation and provide you information regarding your legal rights, options, and responsibilities.

 

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