Resources are available to evaluate nursing homes, assisted living centers, physicians and hospitals.
In our experience, quality care is most often provided in long-term care facilities that are either (1) owned and managed by non-profit companies, or (2) family-owned and operated. Of course, this is a general statement, and there are no absolute certainties. By far, the most important factor you should consider when you choose a nursing home is the qualityand quantity of staff that will be providing care to your loved one.
Fortunately, you can conduct your preliminary research using the internet. Nursing homes are regulated and investigated by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). All CDPH investigations of nursing homes are published on-line by the California Healthcare Foundation, a non-profit organization. When it is time to choose a nursing home, we recommend the following three-step approach:
Step 1: Visit www.medicare.gov to compare the quality of nursing homes in your area.Step 2: Visit the facility. Visit more than once and at different times during the day. Look for the following "tell-tale" signs, which indicate whether or not the facility is sufficiently staffed with well-qualified nurses who are attending to their patients:
Talk to patients and their visitors to see how they feel about the care provided, especially those who have been at the facility more than two months.
Step 3: Choose the best facility that is close to friends and family. Encourage them to visit the patient on a regular basis, and at different times during the day and night. Frequent monitoring is the best way to ensure good care.
Assisted Living Centers (otherwise known as Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly or RCFE) provide care, supervision and assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing and grooming. These facilities may also provide incidental medical services under special care plans, and assisted living facilities range dramatically in size. Some have a capacity of three to six residents, while others have over 100 beds.
Each resident in an RCFE requires their own unique level of personal care and protective supervision. Because RCFEs offer a wide range of services, consumers should look closely at the programs of each facility to see if the services will meet the needs of their individual loved one.
RCFEs are regulated and investigated by the Department of Social Service (DSS). Unfortunately, DSS investigation reports are not yet available online. The only way you can obtain the results of past DSS investigations is to either (1) ask the facility to show you their copies, or (2) contact the local DSS office and make an appointment to view the facility file.
If your loved one needs supervision or assistance with incidental medical services, the most important factors in your decision should be the number of staff employed to provide such services, and their qualifications and training.
Physicians are regulated by the California Medical Board. By visiting the California Department of Consumer Affairs website, you can obtain the following information regarding any physician:
Hospitals (otherwise known as Acute Care Facilities) are regulated and investigated by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Visit the Medicare website to compare hospitals in your area. Many hospitals have special units, floors, wings or departments that are licensed as skilled nursing facilities (aka nursing homes). Investigation summaries of these units are available in the same manner as any other skilled nursing facility.
To arrange a free consultation with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney, contact The Gebler Firm, PC, at 818-876-9600 or send us an online consultation request. With offices in Calabasas and Long Beach, we proudly represent individuals and families throughout Southern California.