Steps to finding good nursing home care

November 17, 2006

One of the most difficult questions families face is finding good nursing home care for their loved ones.
Recent studies indicate the quality of care in nursing homes actually may be getting worse, not better. Charles Phillips, Ph.D., M.P.H., a professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health, just worked on a Consumer Reports analysis of 16,000 U.S. nursing homes.
“Good quality nursing home care is available in Texas, but, as in any other state, it is often difficult to find,” Dr. Phillips said. “Choosing a nursing home is something that should be done over a period of weeks. Unfortunately, weeks are often not really available.”
“If you conclude that your loved one is not receiving the care that he or she should, remember that you do have options,” he continued. “If facility staff are not responsive to your concerns, then find another, better home. Do not be discouraged and think that all homes are bad or that all homes are alike. You can find good care.”
In evaluating nursing home care, Dr. Phillips and his colleagues suggest several steps:
Check the Consumer Reports Nursing Home Quality Monitor, which has state-by-state findings, at http://www.consumerreports.org/nursinghomes. Check on ownership, as independent, nonprofit facilities may be better than for-profit chains. Ask to read each nursing home

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