Residents of a Washington State nursing home benefit from beautiful surroundings, high quality facilities, and easy access to some of the best medical care and health services in the country. Nursing homes in Washington State are also required to meet several additional quality measures that set them apart from nursing homes in other parts of the country.
Please note that the current definition of a nursing home is a medical facility dedicated to caring for patients with significantly debilitating physical or mental illnesses. Whereas assisted living facilities are long-term residences for elderly people who may only need moderate medical supervision and care giving assistance. Please check here for a list of Washington State assisted living facilities.
Licensing of Washington Nursing Homes
Nursing homes that receive a license to operate in Washington State undergo a thorough inspection and licensing process. Each year the Department of Social and Health Services conducts an annual inspection of all nursing homes. State inspectors personally observe the facility, review records and interview patients about the quality of their care.
The Department then publishes a report and requires that the homes create a plan of action to address any issues that were uncovered during the inspection or risk losing their license. These reports are available for public review upon request from the nursing home or from the State for a small fee.
Training For Workers
Washington State voters recently passed Initiative I-1029, which promotes greater training and hiring requirements for paid caregivers, such as those who work in nursing homes.
Caregivers are now required to complete 75 hours of training and pass a certification exam before they are allowed to work in a licensed Washington nursing home. They must also pass a criminal background check.
Nursing Home Resident Rights
In 1995, Washington State recognized residents of nursing homes as a vulnerable population and legislated additional protections for all residents of a Washington State nursing home. This "Bill of Resident Rights" grants residents to be in legal control of their own care and dictates how staff are allowed to interact with them while they reside at the nursing home.
Support for Nursing Home Residents and Their Family
There are a wide range of services and organizations in Washington State to help seniors pay for and manage nursing home care. Washington State actively participates in the national Long-Term Care (LTC) Ombudsman program. LTC Ombudsmen are certified volunteers who are specially trained to act as advocates for nursing home residents and their families. There are over 500 certified LTC Ombudsman in Washington State.
The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services also maintains community services offices in each of its counties. The community services offices offer a wealth of information and assistance in gaining access to medical care and health services.
Written by senior housing writer Jacqui Howell.