Finding basic information about Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) is surprisingly difficult. Company websites are typically sparse on content and hard to navigate. On top of that, a large number of SNFs have no websites at all. Third-party websites like Yelp aren’t always reliable either. Based on our in-person visits to SNFs, we found that many pictures on Yelp do not correspond with the actual facility. This combination makes it difficult to finding reliable information. As a result, many who seek credible information call each SNF to schedule a tour and to get answers they need for selecting a facility.
There’s a lot of variation in the response and attitude you’ll get from the staff at SNFs. Here are some common answers that we have encountered:
- “I’m sorry, I don’t know.” or “I’m not authorized to share that information.”
- “Let me connect you to our admissions office.” But, something goes wrong and you get disconnected.
- “You’ll have to talk to X, but X isn’t here today.”
- “I’m sorry. I’m busy taking care of a patient.”
Most often you will be forwarded to voicemail. Usually this is because the admissions staff is out of the office. Lunch breaks are uncoordinated and staff leave early, often before 4:30pm (they start their days early).
From speaking with staff at SNFs, these types of responses are largely due to work duties pulling them in too many directions. Our hope is that Rockfish will help to lessen their load by giving prospective residents a central place to find factual information without interrupting their workflow. We’re working hard to make the process of choosing a SNF easier for patients, SNF staff, and hospital staff.
This doesn’t take away the fact that this process is frustrating. Your need for information is time sensitive, since you are being rushed out of the hospital. It’s hard to know when you can reasonably expect to get a call back with answers to your questions.
Unfortunately, you can spend hours “letting your fingers do the walking,” only to end up empty handed.
The process of being discharged from the hospital is stressful enough on its own. You shouldn’t have to worry about the credibility of the information you’re using in deciding which SNF would work best for you or your loved one.
Hospitals typically maintain a list of contact information for nearby SNFs. The hospital staff will provide this to you and ask that you select your top choices. Unfortunately, these lists are often out of date and typically lack information about what each facility looks like, what languages the staff speaks at these facilities, which medical services are provided at each facility, or how much a patient will be expected to pay out of pocket.
And to avoid conflicts of interest, hospital staff will shy away from answering questions that may be perceived as a recommendation for where you should go.
You have enough on your plate without having to collect these basic facts to make an informed decision about which SNF to be discharged to.
At Rockfish, we’re doing our best to help collect this factual baseline information, so you can focus your attention on facilities that you are seriously considering to get answers to the specific questions unique to your circumstance.