Factors to consider when selecting a nursing home


The Ombudsman office is known for investigating complaints, but we provide many other services. The Ombudsman often assists individuals locate and select long-term care facilities that can best meet their needs. The Ombudsman office can provide citizens with information and tools that will help them make an informed decision.

Recently, the Ombudsman received a phone call from an individual looking for a nursing home where their spouse could receive skilled therapy after suffering a heart attack and open-heart surgery. The doctors at the hospital stated the spouse would need to work with a physical therapist to regain the ability to stand and walk. The doctors further stated the spouse would need 24-hour nursing services and that it would be easier on both of them if this were completed in a nursing home. The caller did not know of any nursing homes near their home or how to tell if one was better than another.

The Ombudsman explained that the Long-Term Care Consumer Guide is a website that lists every nursing home and assisted living facility in Ohio. The caller and Ombudsman both accessed the website at www.ltcohio.org and located nursing homes within a five-mile radius of their zip code. The caller identified five that were the closest to their home. The Ombudsman and caller reviewed the information that the website provides, including the most recent inspection results from the Ohio Department of Health. The Ombudsman explained the inspection results identify areas where a nursing home has failed to meet state regulations and are issued a citation. After careful review of the inspection results the caller eliminated one nursing home because it had numerous citations.

Additional information about each nursing home was reviewed, including the 2015 survey results of family members, the 2016 survey results of residents and the special services that the nursing home provides. The Ombudsman further explained to the caller how all of the nursing homes could be compared side by side on the website, which helped the caller easily compare the nursing homes’ strengths and weaknesses.

The Ombudsman explained that once the caller had identified two or three nursing homes that meet their needs, they would need to visit the nursing homes. The Ombudsman recommended the caller make an appointment to tour each nursing home and take a list of questions. The Ombudsman’s office maintains a checklist of questions to ask while touring the nursing home and provided this information to the caller. The Ombudsman stressed the importance of observing the response to resident requests, the therapy department and the interaction of staff with each other. The Ombudsman also recommended taking a friend and, if possible, visiting a second time without making an appointment.

The caller thanked the Ombudsman for the assistance and stated they believed they would now be able to make an informed decision. The Ombudsman reminded the caller they should call back if they had any other questions related to selecting a long-term care facility or if any issues or concerns developed while their spouse was in the nursing home.

The Ombudsman Column, a production of the Joint Office of Citizens’ Complaints, summarizes selected problems that citizens have had with government services, schools and nursing homes in the Dayton area. Contact the Ombudsman by writing to the Beerman Building, 11 W. Monument Avenue, Suite 606, Dayton 45402, or telephone 937-223-4613, or by electronic mail at ombudsman@dayton-ombudsman.org . Additionally, please “like” us on Facebook at “Dayton Ombudsman Office.”



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