Choosing the best-skilled nursing home for a family member is an important decision. We recommend starting your search with the online guide available at www.nursinghomeguide.org.
This guide is maintained by the non-profit organization Californians Advancing Nursing Home Reform (CANHR). It has in-depth information on all 1300+ nursing homes in California, including interactive searches, comparisons, and details on violations, staffing, and services.
Get started by using the Nursing Home Guide to learn about nursing homes in your community and find out about their histories of complaints, deficiencies, and citations. Additionally, lists of nursing homes by county are available at CANHR’s main website www.canhr.org.
Personally Visit the Potential Nursing Home
Next, it is essential to personally go and walk throughout the potential nursing home. Does the home smell? Are the resident’s calling out uncontrollably? What does the food look like? Does this look like the type of place you would be willing to stay in if needed?
Resident and Family Councils
Good skilled nursing facilities have organized Resident and Family Councils. These groups are involved with staff in making sure that residents receive the care they need. Ask to speak with someone from either the Resident or Family Council about their experiences at the facility.
If the facility does not have an organized Resident or Family Councils, then definitely ask to talk with some of the facility’s current residents and/or their families about the care and conditions that they are experiencing.
A convenient location should help facilitate more frequent visits and residents who have frequent visitors often recover faster, are happier and tend to receive a higher quality of care. When family members and friends are close enough to visit frequently, they can monitor the resident’s condition, participate in care planning and respond quickly to emergencies.
If your loved one has special medical needs make sure that the facility can attend to these needs. Specifically, ask to interview the special needs care providers directly to ensure that they can meet your loved one’s special needs.
For example, some residents need specialized respiratory care, such as a ventilator, that is only available at certain facilities. Or an individual may need extra supervision and assistance due to behaviors associated with dementia.
Ask detailed questions to make sure facilities under consideration are currently able to provide the necessary care.