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A recent Cleveland Plain Dealer article, Ohio nursing homes among the nation’s lowest rated in quality of care: A Critical Choice included an in-depth review of investigation reports on local nursing homes. The author also cited federal statistics indicating that Ohio’s nursing homes are among the most poorly rated in the nation – capturing the deepest fears of anyone who has ever made the difficult decision to place a loved one in residential care.
First, we’d like to acknowledge that there are many hard-working, dedicated professionals who provide safe, loving care to Ohio’s seniors. By and large, it is our experience that most care concerns can be resolved through education, advocacy and cooperation. Problems can also be prevented with advance planning – not all facilities are the right fit for every person/family.
It was a long article – and if you managed to read the whole thing, you may be asking yourself what to do with all that information.  Below are some of the key takeaways and suggestions, based on our experience advocating for patients and families in some of the best and worst rated facilities throughout Cleveland and northeast Ohio.

  • Do your research. Most of the information published by the Plain Dealer is open to the public, and facilities are required by law to share it with you. Medicare even offers an online database to help you access and compare health facility ratings.
  • Get help. Talk through your questions and concerns with someone who knows the local facilities and residential care communities. This is one of the many supportive services our care coordinators offer, to help you compare care options with your loved one’s needs and priorities in mind. A facility that provided excellent care for your friend’s aunt with end stage cancer may not be the best option for a loved one with dementia.
  • Ask questions. After reviewing the investigation reports for a facility, it’s reasonable to ask how an issue was addressed/corrected. Are plans in place to prevent any future issues? Do you feel respected and heard when bringing up your concerns?
  • Stay involved. Even a perfect rating doesn’t guarantee that no problems will arise with your loved one’s care. Developing ongoing communication with staff members helps identify potential concerns ahead of time and open dialogue will make resolutions easier if any problems occur.
  • Speak up. If you have any immediate or ongoing concerns for your loved one’s safety, we encourage you bring it directly to the attention of the Administrator or Director of Nursing. In most situations, they take all such concerns very seriously and will do their best to resolve issues. If you’re not satisfied with the response or resolution you receive, please don’t hesitate to contact our office or your long term care Ombudsman for additional guidance and support.

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