Dear Consumer Ed:
I want to find a good, reputable nursing home for my grandmother, who lives in West Georgia. What are some resources I can use?
Consumer Ed says:
Finding a quality nursing home for a loved one is a serious and formidable task. However, it can be made less intimidating when using a number of online resources to help guide your search. But, before you make any decisions about long-term care, first gather as much information as possible about places in your desired area and what help your loved one may need. A nursing home may not be your only, or even your best, choice. Whether you decide on home health, assisted living, a nursing home, or one of many other options, there are community and state agencies and organizations that can help you make your long-term care decision-making process more comfortable.
A great starting point for your research is LongTermCare.gov, a website developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to inform Americans about the long-term care options available in their communities. Along with general information about long-term care, the website provides links to tools like the “Eldercare Locator," a website and call center that connects you to state and local agencies on aging, as well as community-based organizations that serve older adults. Specifically, this site provides information about your local Area Agency on Aging, which is designated by the State to address the needs and concerns of all older persons at regional and local levels.
Another valuable resource is the “Nursing Home Compare” tool on Medicare.gov, “Nursing Home Compare” has detailed information about every Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the country. It provides a tool to help consumers compare nursing homes with links to a ratings system, contains complaints against certain nursing homes, links to local health advocates, and offers a comprehensive guide to choosing a nursing home.
Your local long-term care ombudsman can be a significant resource in your research as well. Long-term care ombudsmen are advocates for residents of nursing homes, board and care homes, and assisted living facilities. Your local ombudsman can provide information about how to find a facility and what to do to get quality care. You can find the contact information for your local long-term care ombudsman by visiting www.georgiaombudsman.org.
The State Bar of Georgia also provides information regarding legal rights and contact information about state resources. The site explains what you need to know before signing a nursing home admissions agreement, and what your loved one’s rights are as a nursing home resident. It also provides a list of agencies to contact for assistance or with any questions or concerns you may have.