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Important behind-the-scenes information about nursing homes

You're working hard to find the right nursing home for your loved one. Naturally, avoiding abuse and neglect is at the top of the list. Below are a few things you should know:

1. Nursing homes sometimes use staffing agencies. This can mean that they get temporary caretakers. These individuals may not really get to know the residents or have much of a bond with them.

2. Dinner time can really help you see what the staff is like. It's one of the most chaotic and stressful times of day.

3. The smell is often a better indicator of an unsanitary living area than anything else. If you're coming for a visit, the staff may have tidied up. For a quick walk-through, it looks great to your untrained eye. It's much harder to get smells out quickly, though, and using a lot of chemicals to mask those scents can tip you off just as easily.

4. The star ratings are important. The staff won't tell you what the rating is if it's not at least four out of five. Medicare tracks this, though, with an online database. Check it before deciding.

5. Privacy may not be what it seems. Some residents share rooms, but they're still pitched as private spaces with dividers between them. While they can look good, check out these dividers to see just how much privacy they offer. A paper-thin curtain gives the illusion of privacy, but it's not the same as having your own four walls.

Doing research is important, but there's always the risk that your loved one will be abused or neglected. Don't blame yourself. Just start looking into your legal options.

Source: Bottom Line Inc, "9 Things Your Mother’s Nursing Home Won’t Tell You," Robert Kane, accessed Dec. 30, 2016

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