Deciding which nursing home would be the best place for a loved one needing either a short-term stay after a hospital visit or a more permanent placement can be very stressful. You want what’s best for them but you simply don’t know much about nursing homes and aren’t sure where to turn for information. You certainly can get recommendations from your neighbors or doctors, but how can you really tell the quality of a facility or which would be a best fit for your needs? The Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services (HHS) makes the search for quality nursing facilities a lot easier with several online tools for consumers.
The Massachusetts HHS website (found here) provides a Nursing Home Survey Performance Tool which gives consumers access to evaluation scores and a detailed synopses of the performance of Massachusetts nursing homes during their three most recent inspectional surveys for Medicaid/Medicare recertification. The Nursing Home Performance Tool provides information in five areas which are reviewed by the state during surprise visits to facilities including Administration, Nursing, Residents Rights, Kitchen/Food Services and Environment.
The site also offers a Nursing Home Satisfaction Survey, which gives the results of a consumer survey of satisfaction with the personal care, services and environment for residents in nursing homes in Massachusetts, as well as a Nursing Home Search tool that can be used to find nursing homes by city or facility name.
Tools like these can help guide your decision making process and provide peace of mind that you are acting in your loved one’s best interests. Although you can’t always judge a facility just by the way it looks, you should visit any facility you may be interested in to get a sense of how their staff operates and how clean the nursing home is kept. Talk with current residents and their families who are visiting them. Do they seem well cared for?
Also, remember that you do not have to handle this decision on your own. If you need help evaluating a nursing home in Massachusetts there are many professionals who can help, including geriatric care managers and your local office of elder affairs. While placing a loved one in a nursing care facility is never an easy task, knowing that they will be well cared for and comfortable should make your decision easier.