Making the decision to move your family member or loved one into a nursing home is never an easy one. However, residents of an Oregon nursing homes have access to quality medical care and facilities in one of the most picturesque settings in the country. And both you and your loved ones can draw on a large support network designed to make the selection process easier and the quality of your loved one's care exceptional.
Overview of Nursing Homes
Nursing homes are long-term care facilities specially outfitted with trained staff and medical equipment to care for seniors and others with severe mental or physical disabilities or illnesses. Nursing home residents are generally dependent on outside help for assistance with daily living tasks such as bathing, dressing and eating. They also receive skilled nursing care by healthcare professionals for a variety of ailments such as dementia, Alzheimer's and physical disability.
Nursing homes differ from other assisted living residences in that they care for severely ill and frail patients who require constant medical care in addition to assistance with basic living activities. Residents of assisted living communities receive care giving support and supervision but are generally free from serious medical conditions that limit their mental capabilities or physical mobility. Go to our Oregon Assisted Living page to learn more.
Oregon Nursing Home Licensing
Oregon nursing homes are licensed and monitored by the State of Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS). The Seniors and People with Disabilities Division of the DHS is directly responsible for the licensing and regular survey of all nursing homes in the state. Inspectors conduct on-site inspections of each facility to ensure that the home is complying with both state and federal regulations concerning nursing home care. Should a nursing home fail to meet minimum standards, the facility will be issued a plan for corrective action.
Licensed facilities are required to keep these inspection reports on file and provide them to interested parties upon request. The DHS is also in the process of compiling these reports into a search-able online database for easy review.
Training For Nursing Home Workers
In addition to licensing the nursing home facility as a whole, the state of Oregon also requires that all nursing home administrators be licensed. Licensure is granted by the Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators. In order to become a licensed nursing home administrator in Oregon State, candidates must hold a bachelor's degree or higher from accredited college or university, have no criminal record, attend a formal training program and pass both the national and state nursing home administrator exam.
The Administrator-in-Training (AIT) program is a rigorous course consisting of over 960 training hours or roughly six months of full-time study. The AIT program prepares administrators for the national and state exams which test the student's knowledge of health and safety rules set by the state of Oregon.
Support for Residents of Nursing Homes and Their Family
The Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman provides support and resources for any resident of an Oregon nursing home and their families. The Ombudsman program is an independent state agency that responds to complaints about the quality of care including concerns about evictions, resident care, lost or stolen property, and guardianships.
The Office's staff and a group of specially-trained volunteers act as advocates for nursing home residents who investigate all complaints and strive to resolve all issues to the satisfaction of both parties. The Office also runs a volunteer program that provides visits and companionship to senior residents of nursing homes.
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Written by senior housing writer Jacqui Howell.