Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Just How Good is That Nursing Home?

news you may not know

It's a Tough Decision...

It’s never any easy decision. One day you’re enjoying life and making plans. There’s that trip to visit the kids in Boston, or the drive through the Rockies you’ve been wanting to take. Or, heck – there’s that new grocery store downtown that’s supposed to be quite spectacular. You know, as far as grocery stores go.

Then, it all changes. In a blink your plans no longer matter. The trips you dreamed of will never happen. And, even the trip to the local grocer will be a solo journey. Your (husband, wife, mother, father, friend) is sick. They need help and it’s your responsibility to provide it.

It’s the toughest time to try to make a solid decision about nursing home care. While you’re still reeling from the upheaval of all you knew, you’re expected to somehow gather your senses, march through a number of unfamiliar health care facilities and decide which is best.

Fortunately, there are some resources available to help you make a good decision. The first, not surprisingly, is simple word of mouth. News of terrific care, and its opposite, travels every bit as quickly as news about the latest blockbuster. So, ask around – you’ll find plenty of folks willing to share, for better or worse.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is also pitching in. They recently released their first-ever rating of close to 16,000 U.S. nursing homes. The homes are rated from one to five stars, based upon the results of quality assessments derived form health inspection surveys. These surveys consider a wide array of patient care related areas, including patient safety, independence, levels of improvement, and medication errors. They also assess the facility in areas like cleanliness, nutritional quality, and socialization opportunities.

It’s still never an easy decision. But, with a bit of discussion and some educational resources, you’ll be able to make a well thought out decision.

You can access the new rating system at Nursing Home Compare.


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