If you speak with a nursing home placement agent, don’t rely too heavily on their recommendations without considering their motives. Keep in mind that their primary objective is generally to place you in a nursing home that pays them the highest commission. They have often already crossed the nursing homes that don’t pay them commissions off their list, regardless of the quality of those facilities.
If you are doing short-term rehabilitation, make sure the facility accepts Medicare, as your rehabilitation costs may be a covered service.
Our nursing home evaluations assess nursing homes in four major categories: inspections, short-term care, long-term care and nursing. You should look at all of these categories, as well as each facility’s overall grade. We have a detailed Guide to Evaluating Nursing Homes, which goes through all of the tools we offer for assessing the quality of a facility and narrowing your search using our evaluations. However, you should still prioritize aspects of our evaluation which are most pertinent to you.
Inspections are probably the most important category regardless of which type of facility you are looking for. This category indicates the number and severity and deficiencies a facility has had on its inspection reports over the last three years, as well as whether it has received government fines or resident complaints. Facilities are dinged more for more severe deficiencies, which are labeled category G through L deficiencies. Similarly, we also downgrade facilities that have been flagged for abuse or labeled as special focus facilities.
Short-term care grades focus primarily on metrics that relate to rehabilitation, such as physical therapist and skilled nursing staffing. We also look at the percentage of residents who were able to return home.
Long-term care grades are based on a variety of factors, including overall nurse staffing levels, hospitalization and nursing quality metrics. This category is critical for people who are going to a nursing home simply due to declining health and old age (as opposed to a sudden injury requiring rehabilitation).
Our nursing category assesses all levels of nurse staffing, including registered nurses, licensed nurses and nurse’s aides. It also factors in a variety of nursing quality metrics, including the percentage of residents with pressure ulcers or who have sustained major falls resulting in injury. These are both viewed as a byproduct of poor staffing levels. Nurse staffing is important for any prospective resident.
You may also want to get a second opinion by looking at the grades provided by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
It is usually best to have a legal contract reviewed by a qualified attorney prior to signing. Note that these contracts could be considerably more complex if you are moving into a continuing care retirement community.
The nursing home is required to provide you with a copy of your assessment and care plan. You (or your family if necessary) have the right to participate in your care plan. This plan covers medical care, personal care, activities, nutritional plan, social services and other services you will receive at the facility. This will generally be completed within 14 days of being admitted to the facility. It is absolutely critical that an appropriate plan for your care be established from the outset.