Your ailing father or mother prepared ahead of time with long-term care insurance or was finally accepted in the Medicaid program. The resources now are available to receive the long-term care they need. Considering the seriousness of their ailments, skilled nursing assistance that can only be provided in a traditional nursing home might be necessary. But what home to choose?
There are no easy answers when it comes to choosing the best nursing home for a loved one. The task is made all the more difficult by the horror stories that often come out of these facilities. Reminders of seniors who are neglected, abused, and living in misery seem to constantly make newspaper headlines. How do you ensure that the facility where you send your loved one will be a place where they can thrive in their golden years, despite their health set-backs? Is there any way to best research possible options or is it all just a matter a luck?
Fortunately, more and more tools are being created and made available to the public to efficiently compare different nursing homes in consideration. For the longest time the only option was to take a look at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid’s (CMS) “Nursing Home Compare” website. While the location is helpful, it sometimes does not have the detailed information about past events or certain quality of care standards that some families might be looking for. Now there is another tool available–ProPublica’s “Nursing Home Inspect.” The data from ProPublica is culled from CMS report releases, but it is organized in such a way as to provide more direct and accessible information for those needing to get information quickly. All told the website currently has information covering almost 118,000 deficiencies at 14,565 nursing homes. This is quite a significant achievement covering the vast majority of facilities in the country. The tool will likely expand in the future, as ProPublica aims to continuously add more information as CMS officials release more and more inspection reports.
The website itself has a wealth of information on how to use the inspection data. However, in general, the new tool allows New York families to seach indiviual nursing homes and get a feel for their strengths and weaknesses. In addition, if there is a particular issue with which one is concered, like bed sore development rates, then local facilities can easily be compared on that indicator alone. The critical benefit of this new tool is the ease and accessibility of its search function.
The NY elder law attorneys at our firm encouarge all local families to take the choice of nursing home for their loved one very seriously. If the time comes when skilled nursing care at one of these facilities is simply inevitable, be sure to act prudently so that your family member is able to thrive and not languish in their long-term care facility.
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