Perhaps one of the most difficult choices facing families in our aging population is the selection of a nursing home for the placement of their loved one. As a lawyer who handles cases of nursing home abuse and neglect in North Port, Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, Englewood, Sarasota, Venice and surrounding communities, I am frequently asked whether a particular nursing home is a “good” nursing home.
Fortunately, there are resources available that contain a wealth of information regarding the inspection results and quality of care ratings for nursing homes statewide in Florida. Here is the address for the State of Florida website that is designed to help consumers choose a nursing home for their loved one:
A substantial amount of data is available online regarding the rating and history of the nursing home. For instance, a reader may determine what types of complaints have been made recently and whether those complaints were substantiated by the Agency for Healthcare Administration. The annual survey results are also posted online and serve to shed light on whether the nursing home is meeting state and federal standards in delivering care to its residents.
Next, the family should visit the prospective choices, in person, to narrow the search down. Does the facility pass the smell test? Literally…. when you walk the halls, does the facility smell clean or is there a lingering scent of urine hanging in the air? Stop in at different times of day. Does the facility appear to be adequately staffed? Are there other family members present who you might be able to approach and ask their opinions of the nursing home?
Once the decision is made, and the resident is admitted, no matter how comfortable you feel with the nursing home, the most important thing a family can do is to visit and visit often. Recruit friends and neighbors to also visit. This will help to ensure that the nursing home employees and administration are on notice of the fact that your loved one is a very important person and that you will not tolerate any form of neglect or a lack of care. All of these actions will help to ensure that your loved one does not become the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect.