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What to look for when selecting a SC nursing home

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DARLINGTON, SC -

It's decision time. Something has happened to a family member's health and the only option is round-the-clock help.

"Why wouldn't you want to put your loved one in the best care?" Dianne Dennis with Wilson Senior Care said. "Especially when three of those facilities are right here in the Pee Dee region."

It's a stressful time but you'll want to do some research.

Wilson Senior boasts high marks on a report put out by U.S. News with multiple five star rankings in health inspections, nurse staffing and quality measures.

"We try to talk about all the possible things that could go wrong, all the things that could go right," Jennifer McCracken, who work admissions at Wilson, said.

Wilson owns Morrell Nursing Center in Harstville and Darlington's Oakhaven and Medford nursing centers.

The attribute their success in state rankings with their approach when admitting a patient.

"Honesty is our policy, we don't want to blind side any families we want them to know exactly what's going on whenever they come in," McCracken said.

Not all families have such an experience though. Just last year, the state suspended the license of Magnolia Gardens in Marion it eventually shut down for unpaid electric bills.

Relatives picked up patients many with no-where to go.

"Best preventative thing you can do is make sure that your loved one is being taken care of," Fayrell Furr said.

Furr is an attorney based in Myrtle Beach and he specializes in medical malpractice.

He said keeping an eye on what's going at the nursing home can be essential but it doesn't always happen.

Some patients can slip under the radar.

"Maybe the other partner has died and there's no one to keep up with them, you really see some sad situations," Furr said.

Furr monitors state inspections and information from Medicare about deficiencies at some facilities.

He said the most common issues are with falls and bed sores.

"I've seen skin all the way down to the bone that's gone, and it's just raw meat and it's awful," he said.

Furr encourages people to look online and visit nursing centers to see if they pass the smell test.

"If you go in a nursing home and it smells like urine, don't leave your loved one there."

Back in Darlington at Wilson Senior, the staff hopes to keep up its solid ratings.

They recommend watching for a team effort when checking out a facility.

"We're 100 percent employee owned and I think that has a lot to do with it because employees take a direct ownership in providing that superior care to the patients and families," Dennis said.

If you want to look at the scores from the federal government - click here:
http://medicare.gov/NursingHomeCompare/search.aspx

If you want to look at the rankings in the US News report – click here: http://health.usnews.com/senior-housing/nursing-homes/sc

Non-profit watchdog group ProPublica has a list which shows deficiencies for nursing homes all over the country along with the approximate risk to patient health. Check that out here - http://www.propublica.org/series/nursing-homes

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