Where should you turn when you are searching for a nursing home for a loved one or if you have concerns about the safety or care in a facility?

In light of today’s articles about Fairlawn Rehab and Nursing Home in Copley, which has been placed on a federal list of the nation's worst 88 nursing homes, I reached out to Direction Home Akron Canton Area Agency on Aging & Disabilities. It is the local nonprofit agency that advocates for residents’ rights.

The agency can help patients and families who are searching for a nursing home, as well as those with concerns about a facility, said Sam McCoy, senior vice president of elder rights.

Lots of information is available on Direction Home's website at www.dhad.org . Consumers can also call for free assistance at 877-770-5558.

“Then I am a believer that past performance is the best indicator of future performance. That leads us to work with a family to look at the Department of Health (inspections) and look at the complaints,” McCoy said.

Two websites to check:

• The state's www.ltc.age.ohio.gov/FacilitySearch (Make sure to click on the box to the left of the facility name and “view details” to get full results.)

• Medicare's www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/search.html

If you have a concern about safety in a nursing home, file a complaint with the Ohio Department of Health at 800-342-0553 or www.tinyurl.com/healthcomplaint

Another helpful resource is a new coalition of several local agencies and nonprofits working together to offer free information and assessments for senior citizens about their care, whether in their own home or elsewhere. That can include meal programs, transportation, home health care and homemaking assistance, legal and financial planning assistance, adult day care and home repair. Go to www.gettingwiser.org or call 800-421-7277 (Direction Home runs the call center).

But families should really plan ahead for a nursing home and not wait for a crisis, McCoy said.

“So often, what we see occur is Mom is in the home, she falls and fractures her hip. She’s in the hospital for three days, has to go to therapy and the decision is made on the fly with the discharge at the hospital” of what nursing home or rehabilitation center to send the patient to, McCoy said.

Often times, insurance or what facility has a bed available, determines placement, as well as whether someone qualifies for Medicaid or is paying privately, he said.

It's important for “the family to sit down with the elder to consider what their wishes may or may not be,” McCoy said.

 

Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or blinfisher@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at www.ohio.com/topics/linfisher