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CNN Today

Employee Turnover One of Many Problems Nursing Homes Face

Aired July 27, 2000 - 2:21 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: It's one of the toughest decisions you'll ever make, whether to put a loved one into a nursing home. But once that decision is made, what's the best way to choose the right facility?

More on that from CNN's Greg LaMotte.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GREG LAMOTTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We fight, but we always lose. No matter what we do, Father Time gets us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is your pain pill.

LAMOTTE: The pain of sending a loved one to a nursing home cannot be adequately be described. No one wants to do it. No one wants to go. But sometimes it seems it's the only solution. The question is: How do you find a nursing home you can trust?

Charles Kent is 72 years old. He is in a nursing home, trying to rehabilitate from a debilitating heart attack. He knows what's important to look for in a nursing home.

CHARLES KENT, NURSING HOME RESIDENT: How does it look? how does it smell? what do the people look like? what does the -- the employees? do they seem courteous?

LAMOTTE: What kind of activities does the nursing home provide?

SHIRLEY TRISSLER, CONSERVATOR: You want to see if the residents are up and dressed every day, that they're not hanging around in their old pajamas.

LAMOTTE: Many in the industry say size matters and, they say, the smaller the nursing home, the better. Look for a staff-to- resident ratio of about one staff member to every five residents. Ask staff members how long they've worked at the nursing home. The problem of employee turnover in the industry is:

NUALA LANE, DIRECTOR, CASA VERDUGO: Major, and that's where you have the lack of -- where the care isn't as good as it should be.

LAMOTTE: Residents should be well-groomed. LANE: I would look for cleanliness and how the staff behaved with the residents. If the residents look well taken care of, if they look -- if they were happy.

LAMOTTE: Food should be tasty and nutritious. Experts say it's important to visit as many facilities as possible before making a final decision. Mary Lou Manchester says she was forced to put her 88-year-old husband in a nursing home, he has Alzheimer's. Her heart, she says, is broken. But at least, she says, the time spent finding quality care was well worth it.

MARY LOU MANCHESTER, WIFE: The administrator, the cooks, the activity directors, the assistant director, and everybody. I mean, they're so helpful and so caring.

LAMOTTE: Caring people, that's what you should look for in a nursing home.

Greg LaMotte, CNN, Glendale, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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