Throughout the San Diego area, residents are aging and requiring care in nursing homes. According to a fact sheet from the California Department of Aging, our state is “projected to be one of the fastest growing states in the nation in total population” of seniors. By the year 2020, the California Department of Aging predicts that around 14% of California’s population will be aged 65 and older, totaling nearly 16 million people. Given that so many adults in California will need to think about long-term care, it is important that they, along with their families, have the right tools for choosing the best nursing facilities and avoiding situations of elder abuse.
What goes into choosing the right nursing home for your elderly parents? What questions should you ask? What should you look for at the facility to determine quality of care? A fact sheet from the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) provides helpful information for selecting a facility.
Thinking About Medicare and Medi-Cal
One of the first things you should think about when selecting a nursing home concerns paying for the facility. If you intend to receive financial help from Medicare or Medi-Cal, then you will need to choose a nursing home that has been properly certified. Although most nursing homes in Southern California have been certified by Medicare and Medi-Cal and do participate in these programs, it is extremely important to ensure that you will not have to pay completely out of pocket. As the CANHR fact sheet highlights, the cost for nursing home care in California (and throughout the country) is very steep, often costing an average of more than $200 per day.
Given that nursing home care is so expensive, it is often a good idea to choose a facility that is Medicare or Medi-Cal certified even if you do not yet qualify for these benefits, since you may end up wanting to take advantage of these benefits later on. To be sure, even patients with long-term care insurance can require Medicare or Medi-Cal help.
Consider the Location and Proximity to Family Members or Friends
As the fact sheet from CANHR clarifies, it is essential for nursing home patients to continue having access to family and friends in order to be happy in a facility. As such, you should look into facilities that are close to your elderly loved one’s current area, where his or her family members and friends can still come to visit just as easily as before.
Visit the Facilities Yourself
Personal visits to nursing home facilities are very important when it comes time to select a facility. When you visit a nursing home, you can “ask to see the entire facility, not just the nicely decorated lobby or designated area.” You can look closely to determine whether the residents appear to be properly cared for, whether residents’ rooms are clean and tidy, whether the food looks acceptable, and you can also get a sense of the general “feel” of the nursing home.
Look at Nursing Home Ratings
You should always look at nursing home ratings, but you should take them with a grain of salt. While you certainly should not select a facility that has poor ratings, it is important to recognize that problems at facilities might not be reflected in the ratings. As the CANHR fact sheet explains, “nursing home ratings are not reliable in identifying high quality facilities because they are largely based on inspection findings that often overlook or understate serious problems.”
If you have questions about choosing a nursing home or if you have concerns about a particular facility, you should reach out to an experienced San Diego nursing home abuse lawyer. Contact the Walton Law Firm today for more information.
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