For decades, your parents have been there for you. They took care of your physical and emotional needs as children and remained as supportive voices as you found your way and started a family of your own. Now that they are older, and you’re doing the best you can to care for them. If a parent has a medical problem or has been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s, this can become increasingly overwhelming. When the time comes to consider finding professional help in a more secure setting, you can be left feeling guilty or depressed at a perceived inability to care for your parent (s). But in the right location, rest assured that your loved ones are going to thrive. Not only will they receive the medical attention and assistance they need, they’ll also have access to peer relationships, learning opportunities, and social activities. So how do you choose the “right” nursing home for your mom or dad?
The Government Steps In To Help
The regulations set up to guarantee a resident’s health and safety in a nursing home were first formulated by the government in 1989. The demographics of seniors and their lifestyles have changed a lot since that time, necessitating changes to the requirements. As of October 2016, facilities who want financial funding from the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare must meet specific criteria that is intended to ensure the well-being and safety of seniors in nursing homes. Some of the new regulations include
- A skilled nursing facility needs to have a committee dedicated to evaluating the quality of care. They must meet at least four times a year to plan improvements.
- There must be a written plan in place for care, and staff must consider the physical, mental and psychosocial well-being of each resident.
- Staff members must be trained within the first four months of being hired in order to ensure competency, and they must be retrained every two years.
- Larger facilities (more than 120 beds) must have a social worker to ensure that the needs of each resident are being met.
- Residents must have the freedom to take part in decisions involved in their care whenever possible. They must be able to choose their physician and voice grievances without fear of retribution.
Ranking Senior Living Facilities
To ensure that nursing homes provide the comprehensive care that seniors deserve, the government sends representatives to evaluate nursing homes on a regular basis. This is in addition to addressing filed complaints that come through the system. With the evaluations, the government ranks nursing homes in health inspections, staffing and a combination of eleven different quality measures and provides the information online for the public to absorb. If you are looking for a nursing home in a particular area you can even visit the Medicare site dedicated to comparing nursing homes and type in a zip code or name of a location and read the current ratings.
U.S. News Tweaks The Medicare Ranking System For Consumers
U.S. News and World Report has been rating nursing homes using information provided at the Medicare comparison site since 2009. The company has recently begun to utilize its own ranking system. This system includes ranking nursing homes in relation to care over time. It also reduces ranking for facilities that only provide the bare minimum of rehabilitative service and show a low quality of medical care. This new information can be access at their Nursing Home Search page.
How To Best Use Rankings
You can use the rankings sites provided by Medicare and U.S. News and World Report to evaluate and compare nursing homes across the country. Because the database includes access to complaints and health infractions filed as well, you can get a sense of gaps in care at each location. Results will indicate which nursing homes are ranked the best in a certain area, and provide you with the demographic and service information you need to research conditions at various facilities. In combination with community websites provided on senior sites such as Senior Advisor and A Place for Mom, you can evaluate the nursing homes in your area objectively and make the decision that is best for your loved ones.