Texan Elder Law Attorney Offers Guide to US News And World Report’s Nursing Home Ratings
Waxahachie, TX (Law Firm Newswire) April 10, 2014 - In late February, U.S. News & World Report released its 2014 evaluation of the “Best Nursing Homes” across the country.
The ratings cover every state and every major metropolitan area in the United States. An overall score from one to five is broken down into searchable components, including nurse staffing, fire safety and other common criteria.
Happily, Texas boasted one of the highest “Best Nursing Homes” ratings in the country. Approximately 15 percent of the homes found in Texas have been awarded the coveted five-star rating for 2014. Only California, Ohio and Florida offer more five-star homes.
John D. Hale, a prominent Waxahachie attorney, said that potential residents and their families should consider all the facets of nursing home life as they make senior care decisions. “Written reviews and ratings can be very valuable,” Hale explained, “because they offer an objective eye. They give you and your family a solid starting point. But it is just as important to understand the meaning behind the statistics and to trust your own judgment as you make care choices.”
U.S. News & World rates homes based on state and federal inspections conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services over the course of each calendar year. To receive five stars in nursing care, a home needs to provide a resident with more than four hours of care each day, including about 45 minutes of registered nursing care. Health inspection scores are based on the number of shortcomings found in a home upon inspection. Everything from safe food preparation to proper skin care is considered. Quality scores are similarly determined, focusing on common failures and risks associated with nursing home care, such as bed sores and cases of highly restricted mobility.
However, inspections cannot paint a full picture of life in a given home. “A home will not necessarily suit your loved one just because of a high rating, and a lower rating does not indicate that a person is at risk because of residency there. Make sure to visit the homes your family is considering as many times as you need, and be sure to ask plenty of questions.”
Ask about meals, visitors and any medical or personal factors that might individually affect your loved one while living in the home. A quality nursing home will also be able to answer questions about the demographics and routines of care for all residents. It can be particularly informative to ask improvement-based questions: “How do you improve life for residents living with dementia?” “What special considerations are in place for those who are wheelchair-bound?”
If you ever suspect that a nursing home is mistreating a loved one, be sure to contact an experienced elder law attorney immediately. A careful evaluation before choosing can help ensure that a loved one is treated with respect and skill while in care.
The full “Best Nursing Homes” report is readily available here.
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