Serious illness, the risk of slips and falls, depression and dementia are some of the reasons why Americans trust nursing homes to take care of a family member.
Sending a loved one to a nursing home can be one of hardest steps you have to take and deciding which nursing home can become a challenge.
Nearly 40,000 Missouri residents live in nursing homes.
State inspectors visit nursing homes randomly once a year, but volunteers like Judy Sampsel visit homes often to ensure residents rights are being met and protected. Sampsel has been an Ombudsman for 13 years.
â??We speak on the behalf of others,â?? Sampsel said. â??We speak for residents who are unable to speak for themselves.â??
Sampsel said she speaks with residents about their care and any of his or her concerns.
â??This is their home now,â?? Sampsel said. â??The work that we do is confidential and we have to have consent from the resident to share this information, even with the administration and management of the facility. We are kind of like the liaison with helping the residents getting and doing the things that they want to do and need to do.â??
There is government website, medicare.gov, with not only detailed information about homes, but it also gives them a rating from one to five stars.
â??They look at your quality indicators and they look at your RN staffing and then they look at your inspection,â?? said Administrator of Macon Health Care Center Rachel Richardson.
But, stars do not align with all area nursing homes.
A resident at Twin Pines in Kirksville had fallen several times and according to state findings, no interventions were implemented after the resident had fallen. La Plata Nursing Home was cited for failing to have a program that investigates, controls and keeps infection from spreading. For the last two years, Schuyler County Nursing Home was cited as failing to properly manage each residentâ??s personal money, which is deposited with the nursing home.
Twin Pines Administrator Jim Richardson declined an interview with KTVO. La Plata Nursing Home Administrator Debbie Cain gave a statement in part, â??We provide the best care that we can on a daily basis and hopefully weâ??re doing our best everyday.â??
Rachel Richardson, administrator of one of the areas highest rated homes, said she keeps an open dialogue with residents.
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â??We ask the residents what they need from us and we try to do the same with the family members too,â?? Richardson said. â??We are a five star. We are the highest in the area, which we're very grateful for and that doesn't mean we're perfect. But we are grateful for that.â??
Katherine Stuck is a resident at Macon County Health Care. She said her daughter put her in the home because she was concerned about her falling. Stuck said she could barely walk when she came to the center and now she is walking circles around the building.
â??What more could you want? The cleaning is done for you, we have beauticians, they have activities, therapy and the nurses and caretakers are great,â?? Stuck said.
When looking for a home, Medicaid suggests comparing several nursing homes youâ??re considering, ask people you trust if theyâ??ve had personal experience with a home and look at the health and safety inspections.
Not only should you be educated about nursing homes in your area because your mother, father or grandparents are in one, but one day, you too could be placed in a local nursing home.
Nursing homes make a plan of correction after the state survey has been completed. Those are also available online.
The medicare.gov website gives its star ratings by comparing a nursing home to others in the state.
In addition to the Medicare ratings, there are more than 180 deficiencies that the state can give to a nursing home. So, although a nursing home may have an excellent star rating on the medicare.gov website, they could have several deficiencies from the state.
It is important that you ask questions and do your homework when looking at a home.
To see a list of deficiencies click
To see how Missouri ranks with other nursing homes across the country click
To find out how your nursing home did on its last inspection click
Click here to view the comparisons of local nursing homes