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Selecting a Nursing Home Guide
 
There are many ways to select a nursing home.  This guide will help you figure out what's important to you and your family.
  • Administration and Employee Longevity - Facilities that have employees who have worked for a long period of time in a nursing home have better outcomes.  Policies and procedures are more standardized and the care levels are higher with the stability of the administration.  Facilities with lower turn-over rates have higher levels of care, better patient relationships and again, better outcomes.
  • Staffing Ratios - The staffing ratios are very important to patient quality of care.  The more RNs and CNAs in a nursing home the better.  Some nursing homes have a ratio of 1 CNA to 16 patients and others have a ratio of 1 CNA to 8 patients.  The response time decreases when you have a lower ratio of patients to CNAs. 
  • RN Coverage - It is law that there is 24 hour nursing coverage in a nursing home. 
  • Concierge - Nursing homes have a receptionist and/or concierge to greet people when they arrive onsite.  The doors usually are locked after 8:00 pm and don't open again until 8:00 am.  When someone does visit they must sign in to verify they are on the premises.  They also must sign out.  If there are people who aren't allowed to see the patient you must advise administration and they'll watch for people who don't belong.
  • Dining - Nursing facilities have a dining room and also allow people to eat in their rooms.  Some people choose to stay in their rooms during meals.  This could be because of medical reasons or other reasons.  It is healthy to be social and go to the dining room.  Some facilities provide options for meals, when they choose to eat and where they want to eat.  Again, being social does help in the recovery process.
  • Star Rating - Medicare.gov does rate nursing homes on their quality of care, staffing ratios and health inspections.  The overall star rating is between 1 and 5 stars with 5 stars being the best.  Be careful choosing a nursing home.  The facilities with a 5 star ratio typically only provide sub-acute rehabilitation services and not long term care.  Those that do provide long term care usually don't get a 5 star rating, because they take care of the chronically ill, the difficult cases, Alzheimer's and dementia patients and have a more difficult time getting the very sick well again.  You must tour the facilities to decide which one is best for your loved one and your loved ones needs.