By Kay Kaylor
I advocate for residents in skilled nursing and assisted living residences as the regional long-term care ombudsman employed at the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging (SJBAAA). The many aging and care concerns will be addressed here.
For people searching for the best long-term care facility in their area, several online options can be viewed. All three websites include the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) public reports from the agency’s inspections of facilities. These reports also should be on display in a facility. Care Compare at Medicare.gov has been mentioned here. The blue button link on the home page says, “Find and Compare Providers.”
The CDPHE also has a search engine for health facilities, including hospitals, home care agencies, hospice and dozens of other types on its website, cdphe.colorado.gov. On the home page, click on the “Health” button on the blue top bar; the same blue bar is on every page of the website. That reveals a drop-down menu and you click on “Health Facilities.” On the left column of that page, click on “Find and Compare Facilities.” This is one way to search for assisted living residences, which are not federally regulated.
By the way, the CDPHE also has tools for “Advance Care Planning,” with the link near the bottom of the home page. It recommends a Medical Durable Power of Attorney for everyone age 18 and older and has a link to a fillable pdf form.
A third website, Nursing Home Inspect, is run by ProPublica, an “independent nonprofit newsroom.” It is easiest to find directly on projects.propublica.org/nursing-homes. The page shows U.S. maps and you can click on the state or do a word search below them. Inspect lists the homes with the most fines and serious or infection-related deficiencies.
SJBAAA offers resources for people age 60 and older or on Medicare; see sjbaaa.org. For further information and assistance, call (970) 264-0501 and listen to the recording to select an extension.