Nursing Homes are an important part of healthcare in the United States. More than 3 million elderly and disabled Americans receive care in the more than 17,000 nursing homes in the U.S. As a consumer of this type of care it is important that you research information on nursing homes and investigate the facilities that you are considering for a loved one or yourself. Family members should act as advocates for the patients care and learn as much as possible about the nursing home that you select for a loved one.
Nursing homes are different than hospitals and the quality of care one may receive can vary tremendously. UCompareHealthCare provides information on the deficiencies that nursing homes have received and levels of staffing and services offered. Our reports include quality measures that will help you develop a picture of the quality of care in the facility. All of this information is provided free of charge!
In your investigation of nursing homes it is important to remember that no one source of information is a definitive measure of the quality of care that one might expect to receive. Instead you should use all of the resources available to make the right choice. You should consider topics such as the certification of the nursing home, the level of the staff and most importantly the number and hours that RN's (registered nurse) and CNA's (certified nursing assistant) spend with patients. Take a tour of the facility and talk with the staff. See if the residents are well kept and that patient rooms are clean and have the appropriate equipment such as adjustable beds, chairs for visitors and a means for the patient to alert the staff if they are having difficulties. Make sure the environment is bright and cheerful and that the staff has a good relationship with the residents. You might consider if the nursing home has an outdoor area for patients to get fresh air and if the staff will assist patients with their efforts to go outside.
Residents in nursing homes tend to spend a great deal of time in their rooms and periods of inactivity can sometime cause complications. If residents are bed ridden you should consider the care that the patient will receive to minimize conditions such as bed sores. Each nursing home should have a safety plan that includes procedures for emergency evacuation.
You can get a very good idea of the quality of the nursing home by simply walking through stairways and hallways. These areas should be clean and void of unpleasant smells. Nursing home residents should be properly dressed and their garments clean. Being an informed patient or advocate can help avoid situations of abuse in nursing homes. Smoking should be restricted to areas that do not affect other patients and in most nursing homes smoking is not permitted.
One of the most important things that family members must remember is that nursing homes tend to treat and care for patients with a variety of conditions. Make sure that the nursing home you choose is right for your loved one. Visit the patient often and continue to be vigilant about quality care.
UCompareHealthCare wants you to become the best advocate for quality care and our free nursing home reports set the stage for more thorough research and involvement on the part of the family.