How to Select the Right Nursing Home
Host: Welcome back to INSight. We are joined now by Dave Farnbaugh from the Sweeney Law Firm and we're talking about something that’s really important to a lot of people my age, choosing a nursing home for our loved ones. People my age as our parents get to their older years their care is falling on us and as much as we would love to keep them at home with us, there comes a point where it’s just not possible. It’s just not physically possible. It’s not safe for any of us; for them or for us. What are some of the things that we should do when we’re choosing a nursing home for a loved one and how can an attorney help us in that choice.
Dave: Our viewers might be wondering, “what does a personal injury lawyer have to say?” or, “what insights do I have about choosing a nursing home for a loved one?” because I’m an attorney. For many many years, one of my main focuses of my practice has been representation of families who have a loved one that’s been injured in a nursing home. Over the years of doing these kinds of cases, you learn a lot about nursing homes, nursing home care, and obviously we encounter lots of families that have some second thoughts or they’re second guessing themselves about why they selected a particular nursing home to place a loved one. What I’ve tried to do for the last few years is try to provide information to the families and consumers. People that call our law firm about nursing home cases and try to give them the benefits of our insights and about the things we’ve learned from handling these types of cases. There are a lot of things we’ve learned. I think one of the most important things that you have to do when you make a decision on a particular nursing home is, like any thing else, you have to do some research. You have to do some homework. There are some tools available for people to make better decisions about how to select a nursing home.
Host: Now in the sea of information that there most certainly is on the internet, what are some specific questions that people should be asking or points they should be seeking out before they choose a nursing home?
Dave: Well you’re right Emily, there are some really great resources that are available on the internet now. I think probably the best source is a medicare dot gov website called nursing home compare. If you go in a particular geographic area within a zip code or city, it’ll tell you what nursing homes are available in that area, what types of care they provide, and it also gives you a rating. Every year, or sometimes more than once in a year, all the nursing homes under go what they call “state surveys”; where state surveyors or inspectors go into nursing homes and they basically do inspections and they have certain criteria to rank the quality of care that are provided by nursing homes. The information that is compiled by a state surveyor is listed in the nursing home compare website. You can go to the site and compare apples to apples. How did this nursing home rate in the number of residents who were injured? Or, (how do they rate) in “F Tags” when they receive a citation from a state surveyor? You can compare how many citations one nursing home receives versus another.
Host: So maybe one of those “F Tags” are a red flag that we should look for when you’re comparing. Are there any other red flags or things you should look for when you’re looking at these comparisons?
Dave: Well there are. One of their loved ones is being release from the hospital, a hospital might say, “We suggest that you go to this facility” People just go with that recommendation instead of doing their homework. I think what you need to do before you say “yes” to a particular nursing home is go visit that facility. Talk to the people that are there. Talk to other people that are coming to visit their loved one in the nursing home. How do they feel about the nursing home care? There’s no substitute, in my opinion, having a nursing home that is located in fairly close proximity to where the family members are located. There’s an old adage in the nursing home business, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” If your family members in a nursing home and you’re visiting that loved one and you are letting the staff know that you are going to be visiting and you’re interested in the care that your loved one receives. You’re going to get a lot better care in a nursing home than somebody who doesn’t receive regular visitors and that’s critically important.
Host: Now among some of the different options that you have when choosing a nursing home, you have for profit and not for profit nursing homes so that’s another thing to consider when you’re doing your research.
Dave: Right. They have done studies on what is the source of problems in nursing homes? Well the number one problem in nursing homes is the reason people receive inadequate care or are injured in nursing homes, is under staffing. In nursing homes that are not properly staffed you will find substandard care. In for profit nursing homes, (staffing) is one of the big areas of overhead. The home will look at “How do we increase the profits?” One of the ways they do that is by reducing the staff that are working there. One of the criteria that people should look at when selecting a nursing home is that a for profit nursing home is part of a larger nursing home chain or corporation. They’ve done some studies that show people that are in for profit nursing homes, particularly larger chains, are more likely to receive improper care.
Host: If somebody finds themselves in a situation where there was maybe some inadequate care or there is a need for some legal advice – you guys do have some consumer advice that you have for people in choosing a nursing home and some legal advice you can offer them a brochure that they can get from you.
Dave: We offer consumers a free report on how to select a nursing home. It contains a lot of useful information, tips on some of the questions to ask when you go to the nursing homes, some of the sites you should visit, all kinds of information on how to make a proper choice when selecting a nursing home. Our website also contains a lot of information, if you or a loved one are the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, then we have some information on what you can do to exercise your legal rights.
Host: So if you want that brochure or you feel you have been the victim of abuse or neglect or someone in your family has, please visit the Sweeney Law Firm website today. It’s SweeneyLawFirm.com or give them a call. Thanks to Dave Farnbaugh for visiting with us today.