Vetting the Dreaded Nursing Home
During my caregiving journey of the not so distant past, I was forced to vet several nursing homes and/or skilled care facilities in a very short time period. Fortunately for me, all of the information was online.
I would like to share a story of my grandmother who was forced to go into a nursing home. She had an accident and could no longer live on her own. My brother and I agreed that this time the burden of finding the facility would fall on his shoulders as he lived in the same city as my grandmother. He located a facility in a great neighborhood in Kansas City, MO. To his limited experience in vetting nursing homes, he gave an account of what seemed to be a good facility. On his recommendation, my grandmother moved into the facility.
Shortly thereafter, I located several online resources that gave a consistent rating of this facility. The consistent rating of this facility was a D or F. In appearances, this facility was able to mask their failed deficiencies in several areas including health care quality, nurse to patient ratio, quality measures as well as other important measures.
I don’t fault my brother in picking this facility. He (as well as many other people) had no idea how to rate a facility in person as well as behind the scenes. This careful selection becomes almost impossible during an emotional time when a loved enters a facility on an emergency basis due to an immediate health event.
We were able to dramatically improve my grandmother’s quality of care as moving her to another facility would have proved to be too traumatic for her frail body. We improved her quality of care by having constant visits. During these visits we regularly communicated with the staff and administration our expectations. We even managed to have her moved to a floor in which we she had one on one attention. Our visits were at different times so that the staff could not come to prepare for our visits to put on their best show. The staff had to be ready for us to come at any time.
To that end, I have compiled a short list of resources to help in your journey in the event you have to select a nursing home or skilled cared facility in short order.
A. Nursing Home and Rehab Facility Ratings and Comparisons
B. Nursing Home Checklist