Recently the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services opened a new web site to help people evaluate nursing homes. The new web site is called "Nursing Homes Compared." http://www.medicare.gov/NursingHomeCompare/search.aspx?bhcp=1
One of the most interesting features is one that allows consumers to view the nursing home deficiency report prepared by state health department inspectors. This is extremely important in helping loved ones decide which nursing home is best for their family member. Also interesting to note that in Alabama, copies of these nursing home deficiency reports cannot be admitted during a trial involving nursing home abuse or neglect. That is a change that also needs to take place in our laws. I would urge anybody who has an opportunity to review these deficiency reports to contact your legislator and let him know that not allowing this type information to be admitted to show notice of prior problems needs to be changed.
The new web site also provides information about anti-psychotic drug use at every nursing home in America. Anti-psychotic drugs have been used in nursing homes on residents that do not have illnesses for which antipsychotics are recommended. They can be used to sedate a resident. This is a way for nursing homes to warehouse your loved one and not have to give them the attention they deserved and that the nursing home is paid to provide. We urge you to look closely at the nursing home and its use of antipsychotic medications before admitting your loved one at that nursing.
In addition to reading the web site about nursing homes and their comparative rating, it is also important that you visit a nursing home and get a feel for its people, cleanliness and home like environment. Another wonderful source to use before deciding on a nursing home is The National Consumer Voice of Quality Long Term Care. This non-profit consumer organization has a great website that will also assist you in selecting a nursing home. http://www.theconsumervoice.org In that web site is a consumer guide ton choosing a nursing home.http://www.theconsumervoice.org/sites/default/files/advocate/A-Consumer-Guide-To-Choosing-A-Nursing-Home.pdf
Using all these tools and then regularly visiting and monitoring the care of your loved one will help prevent nursing home abuse and neglect.
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.