In the past decade, nursing facilities, like all areas of health care, have changed dramatically in terms of staffing, policies and procedures.
The long-term care providers in New York State understand the concern families have about admitting a loved one into a nursing home.
The New York State Health Facilities Association (NYSHFA) and its member facilities take this concern seriously and feel people must fully understand the differences between the myths and realities of life in a nursing facility.
Nursing facility residents do not receive good care.
The news stories which appear in the newspaper or are shown on television are only newsworthy because they are not typical. The majority of nursing homes in New York provide exceptional care. Nursing facility staffs are very committed people and strive to provide quality care. Nursing facilities are required to have quality assurance programs in place at all times. All nursing facilities are required to provide ongoing educational training programs for all of their employees. Regular inspections are conducted by state and federal agencies to assure quality of care. Inspection (survey) data is posted on the Internet for public viewing.
Medicare, or my health insurance, will cover my entire stay in a nursing home.
Unfortunately, Medicare and most health insurance policies provide little financial assistance toward the cost of nursing home care. If a resident has not planned for such a stay, the resulting bills can be devastating and drain most of all of his/her personal savings.
Medicare may cover up to 100-days (3½ months of care) if the individual meets specific criteria established by the Medicare program. For more information on Medicare, call 1-800-MEDICARE or visit: www.medicare.gov
The best approach is to assume that you will not be covered for nursing home costs. Long-term care insurance is the best way to protect your personal savings and provide for yourself I the event you should need long-term care.
If I enter a nursing facility, I will surrender my right to make my own decisions.
Nursing home staffs strive to maximize resident independence and honor residents' preferences and wishes. As a resident of a nursing home, you have the legal right to make choices. In New York State, nursing home residents have the right to:
- Dignity, respect and a comfortable living environment;
- Quality of care and treatment without discrimination;
- Freedom of choice to make independent decisions;
- Safeguard of money and property;
- Safeguards in admission, transfer and discharge;
- Privacy in communications;
- Participate in organizations and activities of their choice;
- An easy-to-use and responsive complaint procedure; and
- Exercise all rights without fear of reprisals.
It is important to realize, however, that each nursing home must set certain rules and regulations to ensure an environment where residents can live together safely and harmoniously.
Decisions relating to the lifestyles of residents also can be made in conjunction with Resident Councils, residents' families, and legal documents such as living wills. A nursing home will make a decision on behalf of a resident only after all other options have been exhausted. In New York State, facilities are required to provide a listing of Resident's Rights upon admission.
If I enter a nursing facility, I will never go home.
The primary goal of today’s nursing homes is to rehabilitate residents so they can return home as quickly as possible. Facilities provide medical, rehabilitative and nursing care by qualified personnel which includes, nurses and therapists. Nursing homes focus on creating a living environment where people can feel comfortable and continue to live as normal and independent as possible. Persons who are unable to return to their homes permanently can make short visits home, health permitting.
Nursing home employees abuse residents.
Nursing home providers continuously strive to give residents the best care possible in a safe environment. Many hours and resources are designated to employing a caring and qualified staff.
In New York State, any nursing home employee who suspects or witnesses any form of resident abuse is required to report this information to the Department of Health. The failure of licensed health care personnel to report instances of physical abuse, mistreatment and neglect of residents of nursing homes is considered professional misconduct and subject to a civil penalty.