A valuable and easy to use web based tool to evaluate the quality of nursing home care is provided by Medicare. Nursing Home Compare can be found at www.medicare.gov.
This tool has detailed information about every Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the country. Before you get started, you or your family member may have other long-term care choices like community-based services, home care, or assisted living depending on your needs and resources. For more information, see Alternatives to Nursing Homes. Otherwise, follow these steps when choosing a nursing home:
HELPING ANOTHER PERSON
Helping another person choose a nursing home or make other long-term care choices can be difficult. Your support is
important and can help your loved one adjust to getting new services or living in a new place like a nursing home. Be sure to include the person you’re helping in decisions whenever
Always make decisions with his or her needs and preferences in mind.
Medicare generally doesn’t cover long-term stays (room and
board) in a nursing home. See the following section on the Medicare.gov web site to learn more about waht Medicare covers as well as those services not covered by Medicare or Medicare supplement plans
Should the bill pass, the law would apply to all licensed nursing homes in the state regardless of whether the facility markets itself as having specialized dementia-care units.
Facilities that have special dementia care units would — for the first time — be required to adhere to minimum standards to “ensure safety and quality of services,” which would be set by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in consultation with the Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Association and representatives from the nursing home provider community.
Activity programs geared specifically to people with dementia would also be mandated by the law for facilities that have dementia care units, as well as guidelines for the physical design of the unit.
Under the proposed law, such facilities would be responsible for disclosing to consumers and the state public health department exactly what services their specialized dementia care units provided.
According to a Boston Globe article, a 2005 federal report indicated that 44 states had requirements for “training, staffing, security, and other areas” for facilities that provide dementia care services.
While similar legislation has been proposed for the past seven years, it never passed. These bills were opposed by the industry because they “stipulated specific staffing levels for dementia care units,” according to the article. It notes that the Massachusetts Senior Care Association, an industry group, supports the current legislation since it does not have minimum staffing level provisions.
A provision in the bill, titled An Act Relative to Dementia Patients in Long-Term Care Facilities, states that any regulations promulgated to implement it “may not be used as a basis for higher reimbursement rates” for the licensed homes.