Choosing a Care Facility

1 decade 6 months 5 days ago Sunday, June 10 2007 Jun 10, 2007 Sunday, June 10, 2007 9:33:21 PM CDT June 10, 2007 in News
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KOMU found out which long-term care facilities in Boone County made the grade.

Eleanor Dude has been staying at The Bluffs long term care home in Columbia after falling in her home last month and she says the staff has been taking good care of her since she arrived.

"I started out not being able to do anything, to being able to do a lot more now and for that I'm very thankful. These gals have really worked hard with me," said Dude.

The Bluffs is one of 20 licensed long-term care facilities in Boone County and, according to the Department of Health and Senior Services website, of those 20 homes, not a single one has a pattern of major violations within the past three years.

Some think it is because the industry is so highly regulated.

"The nursing home industry, I've been told, is the second most highly regulated industry in the United States, the first being nuclear power plants so it gives you a sense of how well monitored we are," said Gary Sluyter, Bluffs Administrator.

The Department of Health and Senior Services, or DHSS, says minor violations aren't uncommon, though.

"A small percentage of facilities don't have violations but the majority, when we go in, we do find some violations," said Shelly Williamson, DHSS.

But violations, especially minor ones, shouldn't be the only factor when considering a home for your loved one. Long-term care administrators say visiting a home is key to determining if it will be a good fit.

"Get the grand tour, look at everything they'll let you look at, and for us it's anything you want to look at. Check the rooms, check the activities, look at the activity calendar, see what's going on, check the food, come and have a meal if you can," said Sluyter.

Area nursing home administrators say there are other important things to look at when you visit a home.

"Look at staffing ratios, their emergency plans, how security the facility is, and the level of education of some of the staff, and whether or not they have on-going education," said Lisa Koshko, Columbia Manor Administrator.

Talking to residents and staff when you visit a home is also a good idea. If residents like Eleanor Dude seem happy at the home, it's a good indication of how the facility is run.

"I think their program is tremendous," said Dude.

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