Choosing a Nursing Home
What You Need to Know When Choosing a Nursing Home
Making and narrowing nursing home choices
Look into nonprofit nursing homes first
Make a list of the nursing homes you wish to consider, and look into the ownership of each one. Recent studies have shown that overall, nonprofit nursing homes provide higher quality care, higher staffing ratios, and have fewer health violations than those run by for-profit companies. If this information isn't readily available, ask about ownership when you visit.
Decide what kind of nursing home is best
If the person in your care has a medical condition that requires continuous monitoring -- anything from a feeding tube or respirator to an ongoing need for physical or occupational therapy -- he'll likely need to be in a skilled nursing facility. If his main need is for ongoing help with activities of daily living, then an intermediate rather than a skilled facility may suffice.
Sometimes older adults transition from the hospital to skilled nursing and later to intermediate care. Some facilities have both skilled and intermediate wings. Each facility will have intake planners who can help you evaluate a person's needs and find the right level of care.
Narrow down your nursing home choices
If someone is going to a nursing home after a hospitalization, the hospital will have a social worker known as a discharge planner who can help you find a home. But there's no substitute for doing your own legwork. One quick way to compare nursing homes in your area is by using Caring.com's local eldercare directory, which includes contact information, capacity, whether a facility is nonprofit, and displays Medicare's five-star rating. Medicare ratings include an overall quality and safety score along with individual ratings of a community's health inspections, staff, and quality of care.
You can also find nursing homes by using HealthGrades.com's nursing home ratings tool. By analyzing information from state inspections and consumer complaints, HealthGrades ranks nursing homes on a five-star system and offers a detailed report on everything from cleanliness and diet to "dignity and respect of each resident" to how often patients typically get bedsores.