If you decide that a nursing home
is the right choice, begin to gather
information about the nursing homes in an area near your family and friends. The
first step is to talk with your doctor or other health providers for
suggestions. Then, look in the phone book. Your yellow pages list local nursing
homes. Word of mouth can be a good source of information. Ask your friends and
neighbors if they know people who have lived in local nursing homes. Also, your
State or County Office on Aging (in the blue pages of your phone book) should
have a listing of nursing homes in your area.
Nationwide, there are more than 600 Long-Term Care Ombudsman programs. They
are a very good source of information and can be an important resource to
nursing home residents, their families, and friends. Ombudsman volunteers visit
nursing homes on a regular basis. They can provide information about how homes
are organized and regulated. Ombudsmen should know about the strengths and
weaknesses of nursing homes in their area. They can work to resolve problems
such as poor care, dietary needs, and financial issues. Ombudsmen also can help
you determine how problems in nursing homes can be best handled.
Although Ombudsman programs are not allowed to recommend one
nursing home over another, they can provide the results of the latest State
inspection on the home and some information about the nursing home's complaint
history. Nursing home inspections are discussed in Chapter
6. Ombudsman programs
can help explain any information that is not clear and can give general advice
on what to look for when visiting the various area nursing homes.
Another good source of information is the new Nursing Home
Compare database at Medicare's Internet website www.medicare.gov.
It gives you information about every Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing
home in the country and the results from their latest nursing home inspection.
You can search for nursing homes by geographic area and get a side-by-side
comparison of important information like quality of care (bed or pressure sores
are an example). The information is in an easy to read chart format. If you do
not have a computer, your local library or senior center may be able to help you
access the Internet.
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