A Florida non-profit organization gives Alabama and Georgia nursing homes a "D" average based on several categories of performance. This information can make it tougher for you to decide where to send your loved one who needs nursing home care. The report card compiled by Families for Better Care said adequate staffing was Georgia's biggest issue and professional nursing services could be improved in Alabama.
State Ombudsman Karen Rahm said these state reports can be a good start to choosing a nursing home, but it should not be the only thing you rely on.
"Best thing is just to go and look and take a tour and just see if you feel comfortable," said Karen Rahm. She is an advocate for residents at long term care homes around the area. She said there are several things you should be on the look out for when touring a nursing home.
Cleanliness, clutter, activities offered, and inspection results should be on your radar. Rahm said a lot of the complaints that come into her office are from care and staffing so you should look into a nursing home that has a good staff to resident ratio.
"Are residents placed on certain wings based on level of care? Are they mixed? Then judge the staffing based off of that," said Carlie Brown. She is the Admissions Director at Parkwood Healthcare. She said on a tour you should also be aware of the appearance of residents.
"Look around at the residents to see maybe how they are dressed. Is their hair done? What type of shoes do they have on? Do they have appropriate clothes on for that time of day," said Brown. This can tell you if the staff is helping residents appropriately. Brown said the biggest thing people should look for is staff interaction with residents.
"You can just kind of sit back and watch and notice are they assisting residents to the dining room? Are they answering the call lights as you are going on the tour," said Brown. She said consistency in staffing helps a nursing home run more smoothly and will make the residents more comfortable.
You can visit medicaid.gov or medicare.gov to see side by side comparisons of local nursing homes.
If you have a complaint about a nursing home you can call the Ombudsman, Karen Rahm, at 706-323-7243
To see a full copy of the report card by Families for Better Care visit
http://nursinghomereportcards.com/state/al/ (for Alabama)
http://nursinghomereportcards.com/state/ga/ (for Georgia)
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