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Choosing the right nursing home is critical for Montana families

For Montana families who have made the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home, selecting the right facility is critical. Taking the time to research and visit local nursing homes can reduce the chances of an elderly or disabled relative becoming a victim of nursing home neglect.

Family members can start by asking friends, social workers and others about local nursing homes. The next step is to call each home and arrange a visit with the staff, including the director and the head of nursing. A second, unannounced visit is also a good idea. When visiting, it is important to ask questions. One should also try to evaluate whether the residents look happy and well-cared for, and whether interactions between staff and residents appear warm and friendly. Visiting the dining room is important; the food should look appetizing and healthy.

Federal law requires that any nursing home that receives Medicaid funding must be inspected by the state. If a facility does not pass the inspection it will not be certified. Family members should ask to see the current certification and inspection report of any nursing home they are considering.

If a loved one is the victim of nursing home injury, abuse or neglect, or has suffered a worsened medical condition due to staff members' negligence, they have the right to sue the facility and recover compensation. Family members may want to consider consulting a law firm that handles nursing home abuse cases to find out about their options.

Source: National Institute on Aging, "Nursing Homes: Making the Right Choice," accessed April 20, 2015

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