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Tips in Selecting a Nursing Home

The State of Tennessee Health Department site offers an excellent comparison tool for Tennessee nursing homes. This site is located at: Compare Tennessee Nursing Homes Site

Tennessee and federal regulators regularly survey, inspect, and rate Tennessee nursing homes on the care they provide. Medicare compiles these nursing home inspections into a nursing home comparison chart, which you may find helpful in selecting a home for your family member.

Medicare’s report details the number of inspection deficiencies for each Tennessee nursing home during its most recent inspection, as well as the type and severity of each violation. Pay attention to the number of violations, but also notice the nature of any problem. Some nursing home violations are far more serious than others.

  • Location -- Studies show that unscheduled visits to nursing homes help prevent resident neglect and abuse. Though it is not always possible, it best that a nursing home be a convenient trip for friends, relatives, doctors, and especially for you. The nursing home should also be reasonably close to a hospital.
  • Size -- Though a large nursing Tennessee nursing home may have more activities for residents, smaller homes can offer more personal attention and interaction. You should also consider the quality of the services and activities that the potential Tennessee home offers.
  • Financing -- Before any decisions are made, check with the Tennessee facility regarding what medical and other services Medicaid or Medicare will cover. Know what extra costs are involved in addition to the basic daily room rate and the process of making charges to the account. Often, residents’ accounts will be billed for extra charges beyond basic nursing care and even for things such as television and hygienic necessities.
  • Room Sharing and Selection -- Know the policies for assigning rooms and for roommate selection. Make sure that other rooms will be made available if your loved one has difficulty getting along with a roommate. On a daily level, roommates affect the daily life of nursing home residents. In addition to affecting levels of happiness, added antagonism and stress can have a serious effect on one’s physical health.
  • Bedhold -- Medicaid will pay for seven days of bedhold (paying money to the nursing home to keep a bed available following hospitalization), but it is important to know the policy for keeping a bed available past seven days. Some nursing homes offer agreements to keep this bed available and work to help you meet the cost of reserving this space during prolonged hospital stays. Some nursing homes do not.
  • Morale and Privacy -- Note the current residents of the nursing home’s morale. Do they appear happy and comfortable? Are they allowed privacy and respect? Are the majority active? Is there access to television and radio? How are the staff’s attitudes? When staff enjoy their job and respect residents, most residents will in turn enjoy their stay and respect those around them.
  • Food – Try to check the quality of food being served. When possible, visit during the midday meal, which is typically the main meal for residents. Ask residents their opinion of the food the nursing home serves and make sure that if your loved one requires a special diet that the nursing home can meet these dietary needs.

If you have concerns about a Tennessee nursing home’s care it has provided your loved one, or to report TN nursing home neglect or abuse of a resident, contact the nursing home attorneys of Higgins Firm online or call our 800-705-2121 to discuss the legal options available.

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When my mother was neglected in a nursing home I was referred to The Higgins Firm for help. They did a great job representing my family and obtained a significant settlement. Hopefully, this will keep someone else's parent from being mistreated in the future. Angie S.
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