NY Times Describes What Quality Nursing Home Care Looks Like

Each of us who have been forced to admit a loved one into a nursing home or care facility due to chronic long-term illness hopes and expects that he or she will receive good care there. But what does good long-term care look like? Would we recognize good care if we saw it? An interesting article recently published in the New York Times attempts to describe some of the characteristics of good care in nursing homes, as follows:

  • Staff members who are well-trained in gerontology
  • Sufficient aides to help patients with activities like feeding
  • Caring and respect devoted to each resident by facility personnel
  • Staff who receive sufficient supervision from managers
  • Medical attention by doctors and skilled nurses which is frequent and lasting
  • Staff who enjoy taking care of older people
  • Continuity of care — contact with the same physicians both in and out of the facility. This kind of coordination is a hallmark of care care

The article also lists five steps which are essential in seeking out a nursing home that provides good care:

  1. Investigate deficiencies.
  2. Choose quality over location.
  3. Monitor the care. Don’t assume you can depend on the facility to make sure the patient receives proper care. Visit often at various times, including nights, weekends and holidays, when the staff members on duty may not be the most experienced. Make sure medications are given at the right times and check on the amount of food and fluids the patient is actually consuming, since malnutrition and dehydration are common hazards in nursing homes and can be fatal.
  4. Assist at meals. For patients not adept at feeding themselves, arrange to have someone come in to assist with eating, especially at the noontime meal, the main one in nursing homes.
  5. Hire a geriatric care manager. If no one nearby is able to assist a nursing home patient, consider hiring a professional who can serve as family liaison. A geriatric care manager is trained in gerontology and can visit the patient, evaluate and monitor the situation, and arrange medical and other appointments.

The New York Times article can be found here – Nursing Homes That Belie The Bad