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KFOX14 Investigates: Choosing a nursing home

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Records show a majority of El Paso nursing homes are failing state and federal standards.

Abuse, neglect, cockroach infestations -- state inspectors have found a laundry list of disturbing problems inside El Paso’s nursing homes.

Experts tell KFOX14 Investigates, there are a few things you should look for when choosing a nursing home.

Advocacy groups have repeatedly found Texas is among the worst states for nursing home care.

“I don't see it getting better anytime soon,” said Austin attorney, J.T. Borah. “The regulation aspect is weak in Texas.”

But thousands of Texans, will need a nursing home at some point in their lives.

“I’ve already chosen my nursing home,” said local elder law attorney, Stephanie Townsend Allala. She said it's important to choose your nursing home long before you need it.

“Everyone thinks they are never going to need a nursing home and then you realize that you do. The will to live is great,” said Townsend Allala.

She said to choose a nursing home for you or a loved one, visit the different facilities.

“Walk into one of these facilities and be overwhelmed with the odor,” said Townsend Allala.

Observe the staff.

“The staff is often understaffed, overworked, underpaid, underappreciated,” said Borah.

“Do they look frustrated? Scared? Frantic?” said Townsend Allala

Also check out the food.

“Find out if the staff eats there,” said Townsend Allala.

Borah said in his experience, consider non-profit nursing homes.

“I’ve only had to sue a couple of those,” said Borah.

Do your research online.

Medicare.gov has all of the latest inspection records, complaint investigations and detailed information on staffing levels.

https://www.medicare.gov/NursingHomeCompare/search.html

“Nursing homes aren't filled with a bunch of people who aren't loved,” said Townsend Allala.

She suggests, if you have a loved one in a nursing home, you put a closed circuit camera in their room.

“Is so simple and so inexpensive. You can see if they're crying, see if they're yelling for help. See if they are eating right,” said Townsend Allala.

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