LifeCare® is sharing the following tips to help families compare facilities and determine which is best equipped to serve the needs of their older loved ones.
- In general, look for a clean, well-run facility that is licensed by the state and is Medicare- and Medicaid-certified.
- Ask to see the facility's most recent state-required survey, which would indicate any potential deficiencies. Caregivers also can access http://www.medicare.gov/NHCompare to learn more about how facilities in their area compare and rank in terms of quality.
- Find out what levels of care the facility offers and what services are covered by insurance.
- Make sure the facility meets the needs of your loved one -- and you. Keep in mind that needs change over time, so find a facility that will accommodate your/your loved one's current and future needs.
- When helping loved ones evaluate facilities, take them with you if possible. Listen carefully to their opinions after visiting each facility.
- Seek the opinions and insights of current facility residents and their family members. Ask your physician about her/his preference regarding facilities in your area.
- Set up an appointment with the director or nursing home administrator and ask many questions. (Examples of questions to ask: How long has the facility been in operation? How does it protect residents' rights? What safety features does it offer? Can it provide you with references from physicians and residents? Is a patient assessment conducted prior to admission?)
- Visit each facility you're interested in twice -- once at an appointed time and once unannounced.
Cost also is an issue that most families must consider when evaluating facilities. While the cost of a facility depends upon its location and the level of care a resident requires, the average cost of a nursing home in the United States is about $75,000 a year. However, cost varies dramatically according to where you live and can be significantly higher in some areas of the country.
"Properly evaluating a facility is one of the most important things caregivers can do for elder loved ones," said Dr. Barney Spivack, LifeCare's medical director. "People can hire professional care managers to conduct facility evaluations on their behalf but many simply can’t afford this option. So we're offering these tips to make the task of evaluation a little less daunting for family caregivers."
About LifeCare®, Inc.
LifeCare is a leading provider of health and productivity solutions for employers nationwide, offering cost-saving benefits that help clients reduce their most pervasive absenteeism and productivity drains, including child and elder care, caregiving support, health and wellness issues, and more. For more than two decades, LifeCare has led the work/life industry in the creation of high-quality, results-oriented programs designed to improve clients' bottom lines. LifeCare serves 1,500 client companies with 4.5 million individuals within corporations, health plans, government agencies and unions.
For more information, visit www.lifecare.com.