Trusting a nursing home or other long-term care facility with the health and well-being of your loved one is difficult for most people. We all want to be sure that our loved ones get the best care available, and we expect all nursing homes to meet a certain standard of care, regardless of their size or price.
Unfortunately, not all nursing homes live up to our expectations. But how do you identify which nursing homes have received poor ratings or even warnings for the care they provide?
The good news is that you can find some information about how well (or poorly) a facility fares when assessed by officials online. As nursing home abuse attorneys, we want to give you some important resources that will be useful when determining the competence of your loved one’s nursing home.
If you’re concerned about an Alabama nursing home’s rating, especially if it is one your loved one is in or considering, then check out our list of the poorest rated nursing homes in Alabama. We used the approach we recommend below to determine which nursing homes should be included on that list.
Look Up the Nursing Home’s Rating on Medicare’s Website
The fastest and easiest way to identify the standing of a facility is to visit Medicare’s website and type in the name of the facility. This tool allows you to find and compare the rating of nursing homes on a scale of one to five. You can even filter your search to look at facilities in different regions based on a city or ZIP code.
The overall ratings assigned on the Medicare website are based on three sources: health inspections, staffing, and quality of resident care measures. The Medicare compare tool also lets you filter your search by the results in each of those three categories.
Review the Special Focus Facility List
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services provides a list of what it refers to as “special focus facilities” (SFF). SFFs are nursing homes that have a history of serious quality issues or that are included in a special program to motivate improvements in their quality of care (which would have been lacking at the time they were added to the program).
On this list, you’ll see several categories of facilities that have improved since being added to the program, been recently added to the SFF program, or are no longer accepting Medicare or Medicaid, in addition to other categories.
Review the U.S. News & World Report List
U.S. News & World Report also publishes lists of the “best nursing homes” in the U.S. When searching for facilities, you’ll see helpful information such as the size of the nursing home (by the number of beds available), the facility’s short-term rating, and the facility’s long-term rating.
Remember, Ratings Aren’t Everything
Know that even when you do your due diligence and check the ratings suggested above, you shouldn’t always assume that your loved one is getting the care that matches the rating. In some cases, residents in low-rated facilities can receive acceptable care, while residents in nursing homes with good or even great ratings can receive negligent care.
Abuse and neglect may also not be widespread. Your loved one could be the victim of a particularly negligent caretaker or a violent roommate or resident.
Reviewing the ratings is only the first step you can take to assess your loved one’s care. After that, you can be on the lookout for signs of abuse and neglect in nursing homes.
When You Need Legal Help, We’re Here For You
If you’re concerned about the care your loved one is receiving and you’re exploring your legal options, contact Sawyer Law Firm today for a free, confidential consultation. We represent clients throughout Alabama, and we can help you assess the chances of a nursing home abuse and neglect case.