New online tool helps Idahoans find the right care for loved ones

The Department of Health and Welfare’s Residential Care and Assisted Living Facilities Program has modernized its facility search webpage to better help Idaho adults with one of the most difficult decisions they face: choosing a quality assisted living residence where their parents or loved ones can receive around-the-clock care and supervision.

Leveraging consumer-style web search features such as filters, ratings and location-specific content, the new Facility Licensing and Regulatory Enforcement System (FLARES) webpage makes searching for assisted living facilities in Idaho faster and easier.

It also provides users with important details – whether Medicaid clients are accepted, the tenure of administrators, which facilities have received awards for outstanding compliance, the nature and veracity of any complaints filed and copies of the facility’s most recent DHW licensing inspection surveys. Continue reading

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Nurse staffing levels in nursing homes is not an easy calculation

A recent editorial in the Idaho Press-Tribune congratulated Holly Lane Rehabilitation and Health Care Center for the work the facility has done to come back into compliance with federal and state requirements. We are also appreciative of the work the facility has done, and we look forward to continuing to work with the facility to ensure sustained compliance.

The editorial also raised some interesting questions about nurse staffing levels in nursing homes. Determining those levels is not as black and white as you might think. It’s a somewhat complicated process with several variables.

We believe it’s important to first work with facilities to fully understand their staffing challenges and work collaboratively to address them. We have a work group that has been meeting for several years that addresses issues such as quality improvement, including staffing levels, in nursing facilities. The group meets quarterly and includes department staff, representatives from nursing facilities, representatives from the Idaho Health Care Association, the state ombudsman, and representatives from Qualis, the quality improvement contractor for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.  Continue reading