Good nursing homes do exist. In fact, there are many dedicated facilities throughout the country dedicated to the compassionate care of the elderly.
In an era where we are bombarded with horrific descriptions of nursing home abuse and neglect, it was a pleasure to come across Jane Brody’s personal accounting of the Miami Jewish Health System– one of largest nursing homes in Florida. Ms. Brody’s article, ‘Nursing Homes That Belie the Bad Image’ appeared in the New York Times and may be viewed here.
The Miami Jewish Health system is a huge, 20-acre complex in Southern Florida that cares for a variety of young and elderly patients with a diverse range of medical needs. In fact, the facility is designed to provide such a broad range of medical treatments, that the patients truly never need to leave the facility confines.
Unlike, many ‘generalized’ nursing homes, Miami Jewish Health Care Systems offers:
- An acute care hospital
- Short and long-term skilled nursing care
- Rehabilitation services
- A dementia clinic
- Psychiatric clinic
- Pain care center
- Recreational activities
- Respite care
- Religious services
- Assisted living services
- Hospice care
- Care for children with cerebral palsy
Although the lack of specializations may appear to be a bad idea, a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that continuity of care- where the same physician oversaw medical care both in and out of a hospital setting; speeded recovery, cut costs and reduced re-admissions to hospitals in the elderly population.
Amazingly, 85% of the patients at the 492-bed-facility, are recipients of the Florida Medicaid program which reimburses the facility $205 per day. To cover the difference between what Medicaid reimburses and the ‘actual cost’ of care, the facility raises money through contributions and grants.
Finding A Good Nursing Home In Your Area
Weather you are looking for a nursing home in Florida or across the country, Ms. Brody’s article cites some useful advice proposed by Jeanne M. Hannah in her book ‘Taking Charge: Good Medical Care for the Elderly and How to Get It”. As the daughter of a victim of nursing home neglect, Ms. Hannah’s suggestions are particularly well taken.
- Investigate Nursing Home Deficiencies: Check to see if the nursing home has violated federal nursing home standards at the Nursing Home Compare Website. (I also suggest checking on the facility via your state’s department of health’s website as well)
- Choose Quality Over Location: Avoid the temptation to place a loved one in a facility simply due for convenience sake.
- Monitor the Care: Be vigilant in checking on your loved one as frequently as possible. Vary your schedule to make sure they are being cared for even on weekends and holidays.
- Assist At Meals: One of the best ways to assure your loved one stays healthy is to make sure they eat and drink. It they need assistance hire an assistant to help them eat. All Many nursing home patients are susceptible to dehydration and malnutrition.
- Hire a Geriatric Care Manager: Sure it may seem like a luxury, but if you can not personally look after your loved one, a care manager can act as a patient advocate and liaison between the nursing home and family. The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers has a searchable directory by location.