Virginia Nursing Homes and “the Chandelier Effect”

The title of today’s posts may be a little confusing. What is “the Chandelier effect” and what does it have to do with nursing homes.  The Chandelier Effect is a fancy phrase for what nursing homes do to get you or your loved one into their facility.  It means they spend their money on outdoor landscaping, entrance lobbies, and other enticing amenities.  Eye-catching items which make you want to quickly sign that admission contract.

The unfortunate truth is that many of these facilities spend little on hiring highly-trained and competent staff, providing nutritious and appetizing food, and just general high-quality health care.

Before you have the wool pulled over your eyes and make a decision you will regret when selecting nursing home, take the following steps:

1.  Talk to other residents and their families about the level of care provided by the nursing home staff.

2.  Ask the Direction of Nursing or Administrator what is the facility’s employee turnover rate – happy and well paid employees stay on the job and provide better patient care.

3.  Visit the facility on the weekends or at night to see for your self how many nurses are caring for patients and what goes on outside of the regular business day.

4. Eat a meal at the nursing home and find out if the facility provides feeding assistance to residents who require it and have to eat in their rooms because of health or other reasons.

5.  Speak with the local Ombudsman about the level of care provided at the nursing home and the nature and frequency of complaints about poor care.

6.  Go to the Medicare Compare website maintained by Medicare and find out about prior problems with the nursing home.

My Take:  Don’t let the shiny tables and flowers fool you.  Selecting a good nursing home could be a life or death decision.

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Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at dfrith@frithlawfirm.com.