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Q&A: What to look for in a nursing home – KPBS

Despite numerous deficiencies reported at the Avocado Post Acute nursing home in El Cajon, the facility is still operating.

Tony Chicotel, a lawyer with the California Advocates for Nur…….

Despite numerous deficiencies reported at the Avocado Post Acute nursing home in El Cajon, the facility is still operating.

Tony Chicotel, a lawyer with the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR), said those deficiencies reflect poorly on federal regulators. He said regulators are afraid to shut down inferior long-term care facilities because of a perceived shortage of nursing home beds.

Avocado is just one of many nursing homes in the state found to have provided substandard care for their residents. Last month, staff members at Atria Park of San Mateo in Northern California accidentally served three residents cleaning fluid that they thought was fruit juice. One resident died as a result. Days later, an elderly man died from a food-related incident at a sister facility, Atria Walnut Creek.

Incidents like those raise the question, are there any good nursing home facilities out there? Chicotel spoke with KPBS to answer questions that people may have about nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

The answers have been lightly edited for clarity and conciseness.

What’s the first step that people in need of nursing home-level care should take to find a high-quality facility? What resources exist to help them?

Chicotel: There are probably three essential things that potential consumers would want to do, or their families would want to do before deciding on a nursing home.

The first would be going to the federal Care Compare website. That’s the access point to a lot of information related to federal oversight of nursing homes. An individual nursing home has a star rating, and it’s up to five stars, and what you want to do probably is look in your city or county area and eliminate all of the one- and two-star facilities. Boom! Don’t even consider them because that’s probably going to be bad news. Hopefully, you live in a community that has more than a few nursing home choices.

Then you’re looking at the three-, four-, five-star facilities — hopefully, four- and five-star facilities. It’s not that I would say that those facilities are proven to be good. It’s just those would be the ones that I would start to keep as my pool for consideration. We can look at some of their regulatory records on the Care Compare website, and then I would take that list and go to the state website, which is called Cal Health Find and there you can get some of the same information that’s on the federal website. But you can also get information about state regulatory records, which is sometimes different and more illustrative than the federal information.

Then once you’ve narrowed it down to a couple of choices. …….

Source: https://www.kpbs.org/news/health/2022/09/08/what-to-look-for-in-a-nursing-home

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