How to Pick the Right Nursing Home - Consumer Justice Foundation

How to Pick the Right Nursing Home

Written by Faith Anderson on July 30, 2013
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How to Pick the Right Nursing Home

Choosing the right nursing home for your loved one is critical, especially with the national issue that nursing home abuse has become. If you suspect your loved one has been affected by nursing home abuse, contact a nursing home abuse attorney immediately.

Making the decision to enlist the help of a nursing home to care for your loved one is difficult enough without having to worry about whether or not he or she will be adequately cared for by the facility’s staff members. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is a growing problem in the United States, resulting in the physical, psychological and verbal abuse of more than a million individuals over 65 across the country. In fact, a shocking 30% of all nursing homes in the U.S. have been cited for some form of elder abuse, including using physical force against a resident, using unnecessary physical or chemical restraints, and verbally threatening or manipulating an elderly resident. However, for all the negative attention surrounding the nursing home industry recently, there are some excellent facilities out there. By following these simple steps, you can efficiently compare different nursing homes and find the right facility for your loved one.

Steps to Follow When Choosing a Nursing Home

  1. Get a recommendation from someone you trust. Asking friends or family members about quality nursing homes in your area is a great first step in finding the right facility for your loved one. Ask this person about any problems they had with the facility and how well their loved one was cared for overall.
  2. Visit with residents. Find at least one resident you can visit with in the nursing home so that you can evaluate the facility without a guided tour. Walk up and down the hallways and pay particular attention to residents who are bedridden or confined to a wheelchair. Do they seem upbeat and positive or are they depressed and withdrawn? If a large percentage of the residents you speak to seem confused and unable to have a conversation, the facility may not be what you are looking for.
  3. As you’re walking around the facility, keep an eye out for cleanliness and smells. The hallways should smell clean; if they smell like urine or feces, it could be a sign that the personal hygiene of residents isn’t attended to as frequently as it should be. This could result in life-threatening illnesses like bed sores and urinary tract infections.
  4. Avoid facilities with areas that are restricted. If you are only directed to residents who are willing to talk to you, this could be cause for concern.
  5. Be sure to visit the facility at several different times of day. Nursing homes are typically fully staffed in the morning, but may be less so in the afternoon or evening. By visiting only in the morning, you may get a false sense of how well staffed the facility is throughout the day.
  6. Ask about the level of staffing for each shift. Inquire about how many nurses are on duty in the morning, evening and night, and compare that to the total number of residents. Also note how many residents are confined to wheelchairs or are bedridden, therefore requiring total care in daily activities like grooming, eating, drinking and toileting. Also be sure to check your state licensure regulations for staff to resident ratios.
  7. Visit the facility during meal times. This allows you to observe residents who are being fed and see how much time the aide spends with each resident. Observe the residents in the dining room and see if any other them appear to be abnormally thin. Also check on the residents who are fed in their beds. Are the food trays sitting in front of them without anyone to assist them? If possible, ask to eat a meal yourself to judge its quality.

Preventing Nursing Home Abuse

The first step in preventing your loved one from becoming a victim of nursing home abuse is to devote an adequate amount of time to researching and visiting different nursing homes before choosing the facility that will care for him or her. Evidence of nursing home abuse can sometimes be elusive, avoiding the recognition of even family members and friends who visit their loved ones in nursing home facilities rather often. Unfortunately, this is one of the main reasons that nursing home abuse goes unreported in the United States, which only perpetuates the despicable act. If you suspect that your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney today.

Posted Under: Elder Abuse
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