Before choosing a particular nursing home for care and housing, investigate whether they can accept the type of payment you can provide, whether they have a bed available now, whether and how long the wait list is for a bed, whether they are a good fit for your needs, are safe, and reliable. Also make sure that they have an opening and can accept your loved one.
Doing Initial Research
Use this website to compile a list of potential facilities to consider based on your needs and using the criteria mentioned below that seem most important to the future resident. to visit the nursing home and ask questions. Ask others, particularly healthcare providers you know to make recommendations.
Form of payment accepted. Cal Long Term Care Compare indicates whether a facility accepts Medicare or Medi-Cal payments in addition to private payments. This is important because those that do not accept Medi-Cal may make a resident move out when Medicare stops paying or the resident can no longer pay with personal funds. This website describes federal forms of insurance accepted (Medicare/Medi-Cal).
Quality ratings. The type and training of staff along with the leadership of the facility affect the quality of care. There should be enough staff, adequately trained and experienced, to provide clients with individual and professional attention. Cal Long Term Care Compare focuses on these concerns by providing performance ratings, from poor to superior, for many of the quality measures. The website also reports the overall quality rating for each nursing home based on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Five-Star quality rating, which combines ratings from health inspections, staffing, and quality measures. More information on this rating system can be found here: https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Provider-Enrollment-and-Certification/CertificationandComplianc/FSQRS .
Getting Additional Information
Phone the nursing homes on your list and briefly explain what you are looking for. Find out whether the facility can accept new residents or if there is a waiting list. Also ask whether they will be able to meet any specific needs you have identified.
Costs. To avoid surprises, ask what charges and fees you should expect. Some key questions:
- What is the base price? What does it include?
- What services require additional fees?
- Under what circumstances could rates be increased?
- What will insurance cover and what is the co-pay?
Choosing a Nursing Home During the Pandemic
COVID-19 has greatly impacted residents of nursing homes as strict visitation limits still remain in some facilities. Despite lower rates of COVID infections and deaths in nursing homes due to vaccines and boosters, many California nursing homes are still limiting visits from families and friends. It is recommended to select a nursing home that allows visitation. Ask for printed copies of each facility’s current visitation policy and for details on how it is carried out.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) publishes vaccination rate data on its COVID-19 Nursing Home Data webpage.The data is updated weekly and displays the percentage of residents and staff who are vaccinated.
Basic documents and policies. If a particular facility seems promising, ask for copies of descriptive brochures, admissions policies, admission contract, and the resident’s rights policy. You may also want to get details about issues that are potential sticking points, including the facility’s policy for holding a bed if a resident requires hospitalization.
Licensing, insurance, and accreditations. Ask whether the nursing home is licensed by the state of California, certified by CMS or another government agency. Also ask whether the facility accepts the resident’s insurance, and whether it has any special accreditations of quality from outside organizations. Cal Long Term Care Compare includes only licensed nursing homes.