Identifying Possible Homes

If you find that it is finally necessary to place your loved one in a nursing home, how do you go about finding one that will be best? This decision making process can be daunting and can certainly create emotional distress, but with just a few guidelines what might have otherwise seemed too difficult and painful to contemplate will become a process that will be best for you, your family, and your loved one.

Seniors with AidThe first step in finding a nursing home is to ask for recommendations. This can begin with an informal process – just asking friends or coworkers, or doing casual searches on the Internet for communities and forums that deal with the subject. When determining what type of facility you or your love one might need, you will come across information that may seem contradictory or complex, but don't worry – the initial search is just to familiarize yourself with all of the options that exist.

As your search becomes more serious, looking at specific rating sites is a good way to eliminate nursing homes that have a genuinely bad reputation or may actually do harm to your loved one. Nursing homes go through a licensing process with both the state and federal governments, and so a record of their licensure should be available on government websites. In addition to this, a comprehensive record of inspections by government officials will also be available.

An excellent source of information and recommendations is the federal government's Medicare website. This website allows you to search by city, state, ZIP, or specific city for nursing homes within a certain distance. Each of those homes is rated with a standard 5-star rating system. When you click on the name of a nursing home, a record of inspections, violations, and a breakdown of individual category ratings is available. The tool is so comprehensive that specific violations are described. This is perhaps the best tool for narrowing down your options of potential nursing homes.

Of course there are many other resources for developing a list of possible options. This list might be limited by your loved one's insurance policy or the amount of income available, and you will also have to consider whether to relocate the family member to another city or state. While the elements that go into the decision are varied and complex, the process doesn't have to be difficult. If you take it one step at a time and think through each phase of the decision-making process, you will eventually come up with a final choice that is best for you and your family.

Also make sure to read up on nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect to keep your loved one safe. And remember there is always an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer to help you if you do encounter nursing home abuse.

References:

"The Online NewsHour -- Choosing a Good Nursing Home." 2010.http://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/nursinghomes/choosinghome.html (accessed January 20, 2010).

"Medicare.gov - Types of Long-Term Care."http://www.medicare.gov/longtermcare/static/typesoverview.asp (accessed January 15, 2010).