Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Asking Your Loved Ones the Right Questions to Ensure That They Receive the Best Care

You may think that your work is done, and you can rest easy once you find the right nursing home for your loved one.  This is not necessarily the case.  You can do more in order to ensure that your senior is getting the best care possible.  In order to understand if your senior’s needs are being met, try asking them the following questions:
  • Do you feel as though you are safe here?
  • Are you being respected by the staff?
  • Are you as comfortable as possible?
  • Are you worried by anything?
  • What do you think of the staff?
  • Is there a staff member you like in particular?
  • Have you made any friends here?
  • How long does it take a staff member to answer the call button?
When asking these questions you should put yourself in your loved one’s position.  If you were in a nursing home are these the questions you would like your family to be asking you?  Make sure you ask these questions in a reserved manor.  Don’t make your senior feel as though they’re being interrogated.  Simply find out some of your loved one’s opinions of the nursing home in order to determine whether the treatment at this facility is suitable for him or her. 
If your senior is truly concerned about some aspects of living in a particular nursing home, you should be able to tell rather quickly by asking questions such as these.  In that event, it might be time to speak to some of the administrators of that nursing home, or consider moving your loved one to a different nursing home altogether.  Just be sure to put your loved one’s needs first, and find out what they would prefer to do.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Importance of a Call Button

Patient falls are an unnecessary risk in nursing homes.  In most cases, patients fall because they are trying to satisfy a need that was not being tended to.  These falls can lead to serious injuries like fractures, and can cause patients to develop a disability, or show a general decline in quality of life over a short period of time. 
These falls are not the fault of the residents; they are the fault of the nursing home staff for failing to provide the residents with enough resources.  In order to avoid these unfortunate situations, nursing home staffs should educate their residents to use a help, or call button.  If a patient needs something their initial reaction should be to ask for help rather than try to get something done on their own. 

There are a few other things you can do to cut back on these falls:

  •   Make sure anything that a patient needs on a regular basis, (phone, water, etc.), is within reach of a patient’s bed. 
  •   Are your residents falling because they’re getting up to turn on the television?  Set the television to turn on automatically when the patient generally wakes up. 
  •    Help your patient find their way to the restroom by turning the bathroom light on at night. 
  •    Check in regularly with your patients to make sure that they are being escorted to the restroom as needed.
These are just a few simple tips, but they can go a long way toward reducing the number of patient falls in any nursing home. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Some Things to Remember When Visiting a Nursing Home

When visiting someone in a nursing home, it’s important to remember a few things while you’re there.  Some of these might seem like common sense, but it’s always good to be reminded of a few simple things.

  •  Be as supportive and loving as you possibly can.  While a visit to a nursing home might not seem like such a big deal to you, it could really brighten the day of your loved one.  Make sure they know that they are still loved, and are not just there out of necessity.
  •  Don’t just surprise your loved ones with a visit.  Residents have lives too.  You don’t want to disrupt the daily order of their lives with a surprise visit.  Make sure you plan out your visits in advance, with both of your schedules in mind.
  • Pay close attention to your loved one, and be respectful.  Listen to some of their stories, and let them enjoy taking an active part in the conversation.
  •  Treat the residents like adults, not children.  The fact that some residents require extra care for physical and mental disabilities his doesn’t mean they deserve any less of your respect.
  • Keep your loved one up-to-date with your life, and how the family is doing.  Without being around the family as much they might not feel as much a part of the family as they used to.  Doing so makes them feel more loved.
  • If you have children, make sure you bring them with you so that they can develop a bond with your loved ones in the home too.  These trips can be very educational for children.
  • Be cordial to other residents, not just the resident you came to visit.   Some of the other residents might not get to enjoy regular visits from their family, and a little hello can go a long way.
  • Lastly, if you have the chance, take your loved one out for the day.   They spend enough time inside of the nursing home.  Why not let them enjoy some free time away from the home?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Federal Rating for Medicaid & Medicare Nursing Homes

You’ve probably noticed by now that we have 2 different types of ratings on overall federal rating, and average user rating.  In late 2008, the federal government announced a new, 5-star rating system for all of the United States’ 15,800 nursing homes.  This marked the first time that these nursing homes were ever rated by the federal government.

Scoring for the rating system is based on information obtained from federal health inspection surveys, quality-of-care data, and staffing information.  In order for a nursing home to receive a 5-star rating all of the data must show that the nursing home is performing well above average; while conversely, a 1-star score indicates that a nursing home is performing well below average.

The initial scoring revealed the following:          

  • 66% of nursing homes received two to four stars 
  • 22% of nursing homes received just one star
  • 12% of nursing homes received five stars

More recent scoring from the 15,670 nursing homes in our database revealed the following:

  • 1 Star = 2,109 = 13.58%
  • 2 Star = 3,059 = 19.69%
  • 3 Star = 3,082 = 19.84%
  • 4 Star = 4,256 = 27.40%
  • 5 Star = 3,026 = 19.48%

Also, don’t use this information as the be-all, end-all for your nursing home search.  Check out user ratings.  Find out what the current residents of the nursing home have to say about their living conditions.
Below are the results of our 24,009 user ratings:

  • 1 Star = 10,545 = 43.92%
  • 2 Star =   2,033 =   8.47%
  • 3 Star =   1,248 =   5.20%
  • 4 Star =   1,935 =   8.06%
  • 5 Star =   8,248 = 34.35%

When looking into the overall rating of a nursing home, you would be well-advised to take this information into account.  Check out the overall federal score of each nursing home that you might be considering.  Then, break that down and find out why that nursing home received that specific score.  Is there not enough staff?  Are the facilities not well-maintained?  These are all important aspects that are reviewed during federal inspections.