Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Part Three: Lost in the Land of the Last

I had exhausted the lineup of homes my mother and her friends had suggested. It was time to step away from the few to the many. But how?

I began by that new old fallback, Google. I thus stumbled upon a website that listed every Nursing Home known to man and then some. It gave general information, such as name and address and phone number, a few tidbits such as number of beds and affiliation and lastly the Medicare Rating.

Medicare has a Five Star Rating System for all Nursing Homes that accept Medicare. 5-Stars are the most a home can receive and I am told by professionals in the Medical Field this is very difficult to get. The lowest is 1-Star. There is no such animal as a Zero-Star nursing home. Everybody gets something, even if only a Certificate of Participation.

For Instance, Sunset City only had 1-Star; translation -- Well Below Average, while my mom's vaunted Mushmouth Manor managed 2-Stars, or below Average. Her latest ideal of PassingGo Home wasn't bad at all with an above average rating of 4-Stars.

But these were out of the running for a permanent solution at this point. I needed fresh storage space in the warehouse district of the elderly.

Since Medicare ranked every Nursing Home they came in cahoots with I had some pruning to do. The list did allow you to select by state, so I started with that, but it didn't go so far as allowing the selection of  county. (Later, after more hard-knock education in this field I did find the actual Medicare ranking site and it did allow selection by county, even by individual home. Here is the website to save you the trouble of Google fishing for it if you are ever interested or need it:)

I then spent an eye-glazing, mind-numbing time scrolling through all the Pennsylvania Nursing Homes and copying all located in my parents' general area to an Excel worksheet. From that list, which in itself was fairly long, I selected those homes rated above average. There were very few near my parents stomping grounds. I then contacted around six homes by email or phone.

Email seemed the better way I found. You could say more and might get a quicker response back. Telephoning connected you to an automated voice allowing you to choose from a menu of buttons just to get to someone's voice mail where you could leave a message, which may or may not ever result in a return call.

From those I emailed, I received an email response, mostly acknowledging they had my email and would contact me in the near future. These places obviously calculate the near future in a different galaxy than mine for I still await that follow-up contact from them.

From the phone calls I received brochures from one, a "Don't call us, we'll call you if we ever decide to care," and a polite but firm turndown from another.

One home did call and invite me to take the tour. My wife and I went on the appointed day and promptly got lost. Once again a road with a hidden part, much like Mushmouth Manor. When we did arrive it was to the wrong building. We finally got to where we were supposed to be and the Admissions Director was very kind and gracious, although we quickly learned there was no hope of placing my parents there. They not only didn't accept her particular form of medical insurance, but they did not accept Medicaid.

Despite this she was extremely helpful and still gave us the tour. This was another lesson learned. Medicaid was not universal in the Land of the Last. I needed more than Medicare ratings, I needed to know who accepted what.

I received about this time a packet from the Department of Aging. Within was a list of the county homes and most importantly whether they accepted Medicaid as well as Medicare. I now changed my approach from less shotgun to more rifle.


1 comment:

Ron said...


Oh well, theye's always Olympia Drive. Just saying.