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What to look for when finding a nursing home

When your loved one needs to be placed into a nursing home, you should decide that you’re going to take all the steps possible to make sure the facility is safe. To do that, you need to know what shouldn’t be taking place.

What are some negative traits to look for when you’re viewing nursing homes?

A history of violations should be the first concern. If there are a number of violations recorded, it means the staff or facility isn’t keeping up with state or federal requirements. Medicare.gov allows you to search by ZIP code to compare nursing facilities, so you can be a better judge of the homes’ history with the state. The ratings include staff and inspection issues.

Do the kinds of violations matter?

Another thing to look at is how many severe violations there have been. A few minor violations for forgetting to replace toilet paper or sanitary items, for example, may be nothing compared to allowing a patient to sit unattended for days or forgetting to give a patient medication. The type of violation should be important in your search.

Does a staff turnover rate matter?

One thing that might not be as obvious is the staff turnover rate. Talking to staff members candidly or past staff members who worked at the facility can be eye-opening. A staff that isn’t staying at the facility could indicate problems like low pay or stress due to a lack of staff members. Also look at things like the way the staff members interact. They should be talking to your loved one by name, not considering him or her just another patient.

Doing all this can help prevent your loved one from being placed into a nursing facility that already struggles with staffing or regulation issues. However, if an accident or injury still occurs, you will still have the right to file a claim.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, “5 Traits of the Worst Nursing Homes,” Geoff Williams, accessed Sep. 01, 2016