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Ten Questions You MUST Ask When Choosing a Nursing Home

Choosing a nursing home isn’t always easy. Many South Carolina families who need to find nursing home care for a loved one are launching the search for the first time. They love their family member, but they’ve never had to choose a nursing home before. They don’t know what questions to ask or how to determine if the nursing homes will provide the care and dignity their loved one deserves. They desperately want to protect their loved one from nursing home abuse or neglect – but where to start?
If this sounds like your situation, start by asking friends and co-workers about their experiences with nursing homes – but then, launch your own investigation. Visit each nursing home on your list and ask these crucial 10 questions:

1. Are you accepting new residents? This question helps you cross potential nursing homes off your list quickly: if they have no space for new residents, they can’t help your loved one. If they are accepting new residents, ask about the application and acceptance process and schedule a tour.

2. Does the nursing home use hospitals and specialists where my loved one’s doctor practices? If the nursing home needs to rush your loved one to the hospital, it’s best to go to a hospital at which your loved one’s doctor has admitting privileges. This allows your loved one’s medical care to be coordinated more effectively.

3. Does the nursing home provide the services my loved one needs? Does your loved one need specialized medical care for conditions like diabetes, breathing problems, or wound treatment? Make sure the nursing home has the trained and certified staff it needs to care for your loved one properly.

4. Do the nursing home residents appear clean, well-groomed, and content? Residents who seem unkempt or uncomfortable may not be getting the daily care they need. Talk to a few residents about their experiences – out of the presence of staff, if you can.

5. Is the nursing home itself clean and comfortable? Check for dirt, clutter, debris, broken lights or floor tiles, and odors. If you can’t wait to leave, don’t make your loved one stay.

6. Does the staff seem capable and relaxed? Staff who seem rushed, overwhelmed, distracted, confused, or angry are probably overworked. An understaffed nursing home cannot provide your loved one the care they need, and may make some problems worse.

7. Is there an active resident and/or family council? Many nursing home residents are capable of participating in their care and daily schedules, and the nursing home should allow them to do so as much as possible. A family council can provide needed oversight and comfort.

8. Is the nursing home certified by Medicare and Medicaid? Certification by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) covers a wide range of hygiene, care, and safety issues.

9. Are the nursing home staff properly licensed and certified for their jobs? Ask about training, certification, continuing education, and background checks. The staff will be your loved one’s surrogate family – so make sure you can trust them as you would any family member.

10. What is the cost of care at this nursing home? Find out what services are included in any number the nursing home gives you, and which may cost extra. Also, determine what health insurance will cover and which costs are “out of pocket.”

At Grimes Teich Anderson LLP, our attorneys can help to protect the rights of you and your loved one if a nursing home causes harm. Contact us today to learn more: your initial injury consultation is free and confidential. 800-533-6835

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