The U.S. News and World Report’s July 7, 2009 issue has some very helpful information for those of us faced with putting a loved one in a nursing home. It also lists the 41 best nursing homes in the country. Sadly, none of those homes are in Alabama or Mississippi where I practice. On a bright note, Alabama and Mississippi are not on the list of 10 worst states either. That honor goes to Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, West Virginia, New Mexico, Kentucky , Texas, Indiana and Ohio.
The article gives consumers steps to follow in deciding to place a loved on in a nursing home along with what to do after the placement is made. There is a ton of information. One easy way to access the article is online at : http://health.usnews.com/articles/health/best-nursing-homes/2009/07/02/best-nursing-homes-the-us-news-honor-roll.html
Here are some of the steps the article suggests for families’ to take:
- (1) Decide if a nursing home is necessary. There may be other options like having a geriatric evaluation for the loved one, look in the community for ideas and help, or hire a geriatric manager.
- (2) Build a short list of nursing home possibilities: Consider where you are and where the nursing home is. Count the number of nurses and aides as it is an excellent indicator of the care that may be available. Contact a local ombudsman. Obtain state information on the homes.
- (3) Size up a nursing home by visiting. This can tell you many things. Talk to the administrator and question him politely about the information you gathered prior to visiting. Tailor your questions to your loved ones needs. Talk to the staff. Observe a meal. Observe an activities program. Notice the smell there.
- (4) Follow up to see how the nursing home does in caring for your loved one. Be aware of an adjustment period. Remember this is long term. Observe special skills. Be firm in your loved ones needs. Work with the staff and win them over. Asked them about problems both in their work and in caring for your resident.
- The article also gives information on ways to cover the cost of long term care.
We all hope to to push back the day of reckoning for months or years.. However, a frail elderly person who may have already fallen and broken a hip or who has been wandering the neighborhood because of progressing dementia must have full-time care. Use the steps recommended and it will help you and your loved one in the long run. We all want to prevent nursing home neglect or abuse. Taking these steps early is a preventive measure to secure good care.
Civil litigation attorney Billy Cunningham practice concentrates on personal injury, wrongful death, nursing home abuse, business litigation, environmental law and insurance matters. He is licensed to practice in the state and federal courts of Alabama and Mississippi, as well as in the U.S. Court of Military Appeals, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the Supreme Court of the United States.