Picking a nursing home or assisted living facility can be a very difficult process.  Most people know very little about these facilities, how they are regulated, and how they operate.  Some people find themselves turning to free referral or placement agencies for their expertise.  These agencies are businesses that allege to help people find the right facility for their loved one.

This recent New York Times article points out the problem with some of these agencies. While some of these agencies are free to the users, they may get paid by the facilities they refer to – in some cases sub-standard facilities. 

Another enlightening article in the Seattle Times reports that some “[p]lacement companies, which rely on commission-only sales people, funnel the aged only to facilities that have agreed to pay thousands of dollars in finders’ fees.

In addition, most placement companies do not screen homes for past violations. As a result, many have referred seniors to facilities with documented histories of substandard care, including fatal neglect.”

The decision of where to place a mom or dad is a very important one.  It’s laudable to seek assistance with this important decision.  However, be careful of whom you are getting your information from, and how they are getting paid.