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Finding the best nursing home for a loved one

Nursing homes are a critical aspect to providing care for Maryland seniors who need around the clock nursing care. Many need long-term care, while others are more temporary, perhaps while recovering from a medical event. But all nursing home facilities are not of the same quality.

Nursing home neglect involving elderly people is a very unfortunate phenomenon that the state of Maryland takes very seriously. Elderly residents and others in need of nursing home care can take some steps ahead of the decision-making that can reduce the chance of falling prey to a neglectful nursing home.

Use due diligence in choosing homes to consider

For those who are unable to observe and vet a nursing home for themselves, family and trusted friends can help by remembering and acting on some of the following:

  • Look close to home because a nursing home close to family or trusted friend can increase visiting
  • Inquire of trusted professionals, such as a physician or clergy, who can provide helpful opinion or information on nursing homes to consider
  • Review publicly available information on nursing homes such as that provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Visit the nursing facility for a tour

When visiting a nursing home, there are plenty of issues to ask the staff about, keep an eye on and consider when forming a judgment.

Ask questions and keep a sharp eye out

Touring the facility on a weekday, late in the morning or in the middle of the day may provide the most accurate and useful information. Useful observations or questions to the administrator may include:

  • Do the seniors look comfortable and well cared for?
  • Are the elderly residents enjoying recreational activities?
  • Is there an unreasonable odor of urine or concealing chemical deodorant that may point to a lack of conscientious care?
  • What is the nursing home’s fall prevention policy?
  • How is the food and does meal time provide opportunity for socializing?
  • Is there a high staff turnover that may point to less competent nursing care?

Another consideration is the rate of theft in the nursing home. Residents may experience higher levels of morale if they are able to have their personal items around them. A high rate of theft can be distressful and cause unhappy feelings when safety and security is a top need.

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