There are many ways to gather information about which center is best for you or a loved one. These include:
- word-of-mouth recommendations through trusted friends and family
- talking with a hospital discharge planner and staff
- discussion with your physician
- promotional literature
- on-site visits
- calling your state ombudsman (visit www.theconsumervoice.org/get_help)
- researching state and Medicare inspection reports (visit www.medicare.gov/NHcompare)
- researching using the internet (visit www.carelookup.com, www.seniorhomes.com, etc.)
Of these, perhaps a personal visit is the most important in helping you and your loved one gain a unique insight into the center, the staff and the quality of life of the residents. Make sure to visit each facility frequently and at various times of the day unexpectedly to ensure consistency of quality. Interacting with various different staff members, from the crucial leaders and directors, to the certified nursing assistants, and other frontline workers, will probably give you a good picture of the care that will be received daily. Ask many questions and observe the staff’s relationship to the residents. Pay attention to the residents to see if they are happy and active and having their personal needs met.
Other things to look for on your visit are more general observations of the physical environment, such as cleanliness, organization, odors and food. A detailed checklist of things to look out for can be obtained here – http://www.medicare.gov/files/nursing-home-checklist.pdf
Take the document with you as you make your visits.