Help for Elderly: Assisted Living/Skilled Nursing Reviews

by Joan
(MA)

Does anyone know of a site that provides reviews of facilities (assisted living or skilled nursing) from a consumer/family perspective when considering help for elderly?


My state provides an overview of licensed programs and their level of compliance, however, I am looking for actual client opinions and, in a perfect world, side-by-side comparisons.

I am located in Northern MA on the NH border.

REPLY from Caring-for-Aging-Parents.com:
Thank you for your question, Joan. Unfortunately, I do not know of a site that provides reviews of facilities (assisted living or skilled nursing) from a consumer/family perspective.

I think it would be a valuable resource. If you do find a site - or another reader knows of one - please share with us.

However, I can give some general suggestions to help you in your search.

1) Consider hiring a Geriatric Care Manager

If you have the resources to hire a geriatric care manager, they can be very worthwhile and can save both time and money. I would recommend discussing your needs with a geriatric care manager who is familiar with the facilities in your area. They usually have an excellent idea as to which facilities are better than others.

They are usually flexible and can walk you through the entire process of choosing a facility or just provide some of their personal experience/knowledge of the facilities you are interested in.

Their expertise could be very valuable as it is expensive and frustrating to have to move your loved one if the first choice does not meet your expectations.

Check that they are certified by the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers. You can find/confirm registrants on www.caremanager.org

2) Create a list of potential facilities from ratings websites:

  • US News and Report provides reviews (not consumer/family perspective). Their information can be accessed: http://health.usnews.com/senior-housing.
  • You can also access nursing home information at:

    • Medicare.gov
    • State Nursing Home Reports - for Massachusetts ( http://www.mass.gov/)


3) Shorten the list

Once you have a list of available facilities and their ratings, ask for the opinions of family, friends and health care professionals.

Shorten the list based on:

  • ratings
  • recommendations by family/friends
  • distance to your home and other family members and loved ones friends
  • price (look for hidden fees)
  • staff ratio (number of nurses and nurses aides to residents)
  • discuss facilities with the local Long Term Care Ombudsman

4) Complete tours

Start with the facilities that you rank the highest. There is a series of articles on US News and Report (http://health.usnews.com/senior-housing) that can help guide your search. Bring a checklist - there are several online - US News and Report has one. It makes it easier to keep organized and differentiate between the facilities. Complete tours at different times of the day. Stay for a meal. Talk to residents and staff. Ask for references from families of current residents.

5) It's never over

Once you have chosen the facility and moved your loved one in, it's not over. You need to be involved in your loved ones care. Visit often, talk to staff and residents. When you notice a problem, discuss it with the staff. Hold them accountable. Ask questions. Thank staff.

Thank you,
Kevin

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