Guidelines for Selecting a Nursing Home for the Elderly

In an age when reports of nursing home abuse are becoming all too common, picking a nursing home for an elderly relative is never an easy task. A recent book, Taking Charge: Good Medical Care for the Elderly and How To Get It, makes the process a little easier by creating a checklist to facilitate the search for a suitable nursing home.
Investigate deficiencies. There are standards that are established by the federal government and state and local health departments in order to monitor nursing home neglect. A nursing home that fails to comply with a standard or regulation is issued a deficiency citation. Information about these deficiencies can be found on Nursing Home Compare website, sponsored by Medicare.
Chose quality over location. The primary reason for selecting a nursing home facility is high quality of care, not location. The quality of care is measured in the staffing levels and the direct connection with the hospital. Again, the Medicare website is a good place to start your search.
Monitor the care. Relatives and loved ones of a nursing home resident should visit often and at various times, including nights, weekends, and holidays when the staff members on duty may not be the most experienced. Make sure medications are given at the right times and check on the amount of fluids the patient is actually consuming. Malnutrition and dehydration are common hazards in nursing homes and can be fatal.
Assist at meals. For those nursing home residents and patients not able to feed themselves, make sure that arrangements are made to assist the person with eating. This assistance is most important at lunch, which is the main meal in nursing homes.
Hire a geriatric care manager. If a relative or loved one is not near enough to make personally assisting the nursing home patient reasonable, consider hiring a professional who can serve as a family liaison. A geriatric care manager is trained in gerontology and can visit the patient, evaluate and monitor the situation for any signs of nursing home abuse or neglect. The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Manager website maintains a directory searchable by ZIP code.

Chicago’s Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois nursing home abuse lawsuits for over 30 years, serving those areas in and around Cook County, including Evanston, Schaumburg, Oak Lawn, and Warrenville.
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