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How to Select a Nursing Home

By HERWriter
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Wellness related image Photo: Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control states there are more than 16,100 nursing homes in the U.S. and more than 1.6 million patients occupy these beds. Also, the average stay at a nursing home is more than 835 days.

According to the New York Times, ʺmore than 60 percent of admissions come from hospitals.ʺ

Also, nursing homes cost an average of $200 dollars per day. However, this cost does not include any special services the patient may require.

Medicare states there are four things to consider when selecting a nursing home. Those four things include:

• The nursing home search. How to find the best nursing home in the radius of family and friends.
• Nursing home comparisons and quality.
• Visit and revisit the nursing homes under consideration.
• Define what your needs are.

For more detailed information on the above, you can find the free document at http://www.medicare.gov/publications/pubs/pdf/02174.pdf. Medicare offers a 72-page detailed document on how to select a nursing home.

In an interview with the New York Times, Carol Brenner, the National Director of Advancing Excellence Campaign, revealed there are two key questions you need to ask when choosing a nursing home facility for your loved one. The Advancing Excellence Campaign is a coalition charged with increasing the quality of nursing home care.

The first question to ask is if the facility offers consistent assignment care and the second questions to ask is if the facility offers person-centered care.

Consistent assignment care is when the same nursing care staff members care for the same patients day after day. Also, consistent assignment allows the patients to develop a level of comfort and a long lasting bond with the staff. It may also reduce the number of possible mistakes or issues with the patients.

In general, most nursing homes have a designated time when patients go to bed, eat, shower and wake-up. Person-centered care gives the patients freedom to do all of their activities on their own timetable.

According to the Florida Times-Union, here are some other things to consider when selecting a nursing home.
• Contact your physician’s office for a nursing home recommendation.
• Talk a tour of the nursing home. Trust your senses. What do so see and smell?
• Meeting with staff and administrators. Ask about staff turnover. 30 percent turnover is standard but 50 percent turnover may be a red flag.
• Secure recommendations from other residents and families. Ask what they like best and least about the facility.
• Visit at meal times to check out the meals. Are they healthy, nutritious and tasty?
• Ask about activities for the elderly.


Reviewed July 25, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Shannon Koehle

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.