Need Help Selecting A Nurisng Home? Talk To The Staff

iStock_000000350360XSmallI spend a lot of time talking with families regarding the selection of an initial nursing home for a family member or perhaps transferring the person from one nursing home to another.  Soon into our discussion, I see mild mannered people become downright angry when discussing the problems they encounter when selecting a facility.

Most of the time, the selection of a skilled nursing facility is done during a stressful period such as the onset of a sudden illness or when change in medical condition necessitates such a move. Frustration levels seem to get compounded when families visit facilities only to have all the facilities they visit appear universally average.

Sure there are things to look for when selecting a nursing home: location, amenities and the facilities themselves; but families need to focus on one factor in particular when choosing a nursing home staffing — staffing should remain the primary focus throughout the selection process.  Without a properly trained and devoted team, the other aspects of nursing homes are insignificant.

I was again reminded of the importance of staffing— and how important it is for families to acknowledge its significance in a recent New York Times article appearing in the New Old Age blog. The article entitled One Way To Judge a Nursing Home written by Dale Russakoff has some really excellent points regarding the importance of a steady and enduring staff.  However, all points aside, I think perhaps the most insightful part of the article relates to Russakoff’s suggestion for families to speak to the nurses aides during the initial nursing home selection process.

Though hardly a radical concept, speaking to the people who are on the front lines of providing patient care — really is a great idea.  Asking CNA’s about their position, how long they’ve worked at the facility and their job satisfaction is really a brilliant way of gaining valuable insight on the facility in an accurate way.

As Russakoff points out, facilities where staff aren’t happy tend to have high staff turnover rates.  High turnover rates of staff is continually related to higher rates in the development of bed sores (decubitus ulcers, pressure ulcers, pressure sores), use of catheters, increased use of feeding tubes and other troublesome medical problems.

Even if you only spend a handful of minutes speaking to the CNA’s, I firmly believe Russakoff is on target.  Credentialing and tenuring aside, are the people pleasant?  Do they smile?  Do they seem satisfied with their job?

Unfortunately, when staff are unhappy they tend to seek work at other facilities or leave the field all together.  Next time you go to a nursing home, listen to all the scripted information the marketing director, but take the next step and meander to the nursing desk to talk with the people who will be really caring for your loved one.

For more information on nursing homes in New York look here.
Learn more about the laws applicable to New York nursing homes here.
Click on the links for information on nursing homes in New York , Buffalo and Rochester

Related Nursing Homes Abuse Blog Entries:

Study Reinforces The Need To Seek Out ‘Non-Profit’ Facilities When Selecting A Nursing Home For A Loved One

Attorney General Lays Out Guidelines For Selection Of Nursing Homes & Assisted Living Facilities

Take Your Loved One With You

Less Patients, Happier Staff, Healthier Patients. Research Shows Less May Actually Be More When It Comes To Patient Loads For Nurses

Why Would Anyone Want To Work In A Nursing Home?

Justia Lawyer Rating for Jonathan Rosenfeld

Client Reviews

Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa
After I read Jonathan’s Nursing Home Blog, I decided to hire him to look into my wife’s treatment at a local nursing home. Jonathan did a great job explaining the process and the laws that apply to nursing homes. I immediately felt at ease and was glad to have him on my side. Though the lawsuit process was at times frustrating, Jonathan reassured me, particularly at my deposition. I really felt like Jonathan cared about my wife’s best interests, and I think that came across to the lawyers for the nursing home. Eric