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Have you investigated Texas nursing home care?

Once we hit 65, we have a 50-50 chance of developing arthritis, which can affect our ability to bathe and dress, to cook and feed ourselves, to get around.

We also have a 50-50 chance of developing cancer, and needing a lot of support during treatment and rehabilitation, including support during the months or years of “chemobrain” cognitive limitations.

When we are 85, we have a 50-50 chance of developing dementia.

Any of these could take us to a nursing home, where 51.6% of us die.

Texas nursing homes ranked last in the nation, based on the star system rating system used by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

They ranked third from the bottom in the average number of “serious deficiencies,” deficiencies where patients were at risk of or actually experienced serious harm or death in a study by ProPublica.

The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services gave Texas nursing homes an average rating of 58 out of 100, a solid F.

Is there a good Texas nursing home, even for the 3% of Texans who pay privately? Nursing home administrators have a high turnover rate. Nursing home R.N.s have a 94% turnover rate. Certified nurse’s assistants (CNAs), the people from whom we will receive most of our care, have a 100-170% turnover rate – and a high absentee rate.

Given that we have a better (or worse) than 50-50 chance of needing nursing home care, how can we beat the odds? We can investigate Green Home nursing cottages, Eden Alternative nursing homes and VA homes. We can check out medicaid/nursinghomecompare. We can talk with others. We can visit, more than once, on weekends as well as weekdays and at different times of day.

We must do this while we are still healthy or rely on our family to do it in a rush.

Whether we are at home or in a nursing home, family remains our greatest asset. The best predictor of good nursing home care is frequent visits.




Terry Garrett is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is active in the Texas and Austin Bar Associations. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.

She assists families of people with special needs, people planning for the retirement years and people administering estates.

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