As a nursing home abuse lawyer who represents families who have had poor experiences which range from the unpleasant to the truly horrific within area nursing homes located in Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, Englewood and other local communities in Florida, I can attest to the fact that finding a safe facility is a troubling and problematic experience for families at best, Choosing a nursing home can be a complicated and stress-inducing process. Time pressure and bed availability may impede on the desire to carry out a thoughtful selection process based on a careful investigation of options that exist. In recent years, hospitals seem all too eager to kick patients to the curb in order to free up bed space, thereby placing incredible pressure on families to make a quick decision regarding a loved one’s rehabilitative care needs. Sometimes, there are limited options, and a family is presented with only one or two nursing homes that have an open bed.
While a four or five star rating may give some comfort to prospective residents and their family members, it is important to understand that such a rating may be skewed in favor of the nursing home by falsely reported information concerning staffing and other quality measures. In fact, a recent study undertaken and published in 2016 by the Brookings Institution in conjunction with the University of Connecticut, reveals that a large percentage of “skilled nursing facilities are believed to inflate their self-reported staffing and quality measures, causing inaccuracies in their overall ratings.” Therefore, one should not entirely trust the nursing home 5 star rating system. Rather than rely on the rating system, a family would be well-advised to visit the nursing home more than once and at different times of day. Employ the senses during each of these visits. Talk to staff, residents and their family members, if possible. How long does it take nurses and aids to respond to the call button? Does the place appear to be clean? Do you hear residents calling out for help repeatedly? How does the place smell? Are water pitchers and glasses within reach of the residents? Does it appear that some residents’ needs are being unmet? You may also ask to see the nursing home’s annual and complaint surveys. Under Florida law, they must be made available for inspection. You may also call a nursing home abuse lawyer, such as myself, and ask about a nursing home’s track record based on its inspections.
Having trouble finding an open bed? Private case managers can be very helpful in finding an opening at a skilled nursing facility when it appears that none exist. If you find yourself in a situation where you are ‘under the gun’ to make a decision and think you would benefit from a consultation with a private case manager, please feel free to call me for a referral. If you have questions regarding a specific nursing home or the nursing home selection process, please do not hesitate to call me for a free consultation. James Keim, Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer. (941) 426-7900. I handle cases of nursing home abuse and neglect, assisted living facility abuse and neglect and corporate negligence in Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, Englewood, North Port and surrounding communities.