Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home in West Virginia
A complete list of extended care opportunities in your area is available from the West Virginia Commission on Aging, and includes:
- Home Care
- Special retirement or assisted-living facilities
- Nursing homes
Nursing homes usually provide 24-hour medical care as well as room, meals, activities, and some personal care. Care in a nursing home can be very expensive. Most nursing homes charge a basic fee for room, meals, and some personal care. You may have to pay extra for other services or care for special medical needs. It is important to get a list of fees in advance and discuss these costs and how you will pay for them.
Visit Potential Homes Twice
Call the nursing home’s office to ask for a formal tour of their facilities, and review any information you have already gathered before your visit. The Nursing Home Checklist in this brochure explains what to look for and what questions to ask in comparing your area’s nursing homes.
Ask to see a copy of the nursing home’s most recent inspection report. If any deficiencies were found, ask if they have been corrected and ask to see the plan correction. Talk to staff, residents, and family members if you can. Ask them if they are satisfied with the nursing home and its services. Ask the staff to explain anything you see and hear that you don’t understand.
The appearance of a nursing home is not as important as the quality of care and life, and a friendly, caring atmosphere.
Look around thoroughly and observe the services, activities, and quality of care and life provided for its residents. Don’t go into resident rooms or care areas without checking with the resident and nursing home staff first. Residents have a right to privacy.
Visit a second time on a different day and at a different time of the day than when you first visited. Staffing can vary at different times of the day and on weekends. Try to visit during the late morning or midday. This allows you to see the residents when they are out of bed, eating, and going to activities.
Most of West Virginia’s 125 nursing homes are Medicare and Medicaid certified and is inspected every 9-15 months by state survey agencies. Inspectors determine a facility’s compliance with 300 separate federal regulations. After each inspection, any deficiencies found are detailed in reports sent to a national database. All certified nursing homes are required by law to provide a copy of the last state inspection report on request, along wit the management’s responding correction plan.
Recent Inspection Results - West Virginia Nursing Homes
- 125 total nursing home facilities
- 87 for-profit facilities; 12.3 deficiencies cited
- 28 nonprofit; 7.4 deficiencies cited
- 10 government facilities; 8.8 deficiencies cited
- 10.3 health code deficiencies cited
- 109 dually certified facilities
- 8 Medicare-only certified facilities
- 8 Medicaid-only certified facilities
- 8.6 nursing home facilities received citations for sub-standard care
- 17.2 received citations for failing to treat or prevent pressure ulcers
Checklist For Selecting a Nursing Home:
This nursing home:
- is close enough for friends and family to visit
- has an available bed, a waiting list
- provides custodial care
- is Medicare-certified, Medicaid -certified
- provides a special services unit as needed
- has an emergency arrangement with a hospital
- has an emergency evacuation plan, regular drills
- has marked exits, smoke detectors and sprinklers
- all doorways and rooms are wheelchair accessible
- has hallway handrails and bathroom grab bars
- has quiet areas for visitation with friends and family
- offers residents a choice of food items at each meal
- has nutritious snacks available upon request
- staff members will help residents eat and drink
- state inspection report deficiencies were corrected
This nursing home:
- has same management team for at least one year
- has a licensed doctor on staff on premises daily; or on call at all times
- has Registered Nurse (RN) on staff at all times
- has a full-time social worker on staff
- makes background checks of all staff
- has staff training and education program
This nursing home:
- appears clean and well kept
- has good lighting
- has comfortable and attractive furnishings
- is a comfortable temperature for residents
- is free from overwhelming unpleasant odors
- is non-smoking, allows smoking in restricted area
- maintains comfortable noise levels
Facilities and Services
In this nursing home:
- residents have a choice of roommates
- there is a window in each resident’s room
- storage space is provided in each resident’s room
- water pitchers can be reached by resident
- there is access to telephone and television
- residents can bring in personal furniture
- residents’ possessions are protected
- staff help residents go to outside areas
On your visit to this nursing home:
- residents were clean and well groomed
- staff was clean and well-groomed
- staff and residents were friendly and respectful
Nursing home policies and services include:
- care plan meetings open to residents and family
- same staff team helps residents 4-5 days weekly
- preventive care, like a yearly flu shot
- residents may still see their personal doctors
- an active volunteer program
- all residents participate in a variety of activities
- staff members must refer to each resident by name
- staff members knock to enter a resident’s room
Get Help in Choosing
When you have all the information about the nursing homes that interest you, discuss them with your family, friends, doctor, clergy, spiritual advisor, or social worker.
Choosing a nursing home is a very important decision. Talk with people who understand your personal and healthcare needs.
If you are considering moving a loved one into a nursing home, get him or her involved in making the decision as much as possible. He or she will be better prepared for the transition.
If the person you are helping is not alert or able to communicate well, keep his or her values and preferences in mind.
Trust Your Senses
You will feel much better about your decision if the residents seem to be treated well, the facility is clean, and the staff is helpful. The appearance of a nursing home is not as important as the quality of care and life, and a friendly, caring atmosphere. If you don’t like what you see on a visit, if the facility isn’t clean, or you weren’t comfortable talking to the staff, choose another nursing home. Use all the information you can get to compare them carefully.
Recently, statewide inspections were completed in West Virginia nursing homes. The results of these surveys show the majority of the nursing homes failed to meet federal standards for resident care. Statistics cited before the State legislature’s Select Committee on Nursing Homes were conflicting, but all of the health care representatives agreed that West Virginia’s nursing homes need more staff.
Meanwhile, the process of comparing and choosing a nursing home in West Virginia has never been more challenging. We have developed this brochure to help you find the best nursing home care available. When you ask informed and specific questions in your interview with nursing home management and staff, you are also putting them on notice as to the quality of care that you will expect as a resident or concerned family member.
Several legislative measures are currently being developed or studied that could improve the quality of care in West Virginia nursing homes. These include new minimum staff-to-resident ratios, Medicaid funding increases ties to staffing use and revised appeals process for personal care homes. More support for home care and community services, as well as legislators is also considering an Alzheimer’s caregiver assistance program.
If someone you know and love isn’t getting the care they need, or deserve, in a nursing home, contact the Charleston nursing home abuse attorneys at Stewart Bell, PLLC, at 304-345-1700 or 304-345-1700.