Choosing the right nursing home is one of the most important and difficult decisions you will make for an aging parent, grandparent or other loved one. Not only do you have to take into consideration cost and location, but deciding which nursing home is right for your loved one also depends largely on which facility …
Choosing the right nursing home is one of the most important and difficult decisions you will make for an aging parent, grandparent or other loved one. Not only do you have to take into consideration cost and location, but deciding which nursing home is right for your loved one also depends largely on which facility will provide him or her with the highest level of care. Too often, you see cases of nursing home abuse on the news, in which an elderly man or woman suffered neglect, physical abuse or emotional manipulation at the hands of negligent staff members. For this reason, it is critical that you spent an adequate amount of time visiting different nursing homes and comparing things like resident and staff morale, recommendations from trusted friends or relatives, and the general cleanliness of the facility when picking the right nursing home. The following are seven tips to keep in mind when choosing which facility to trust with the care of your loved one.
Tips to Picking the Right Nursing Home Facility
- Talk with others. Getting a recommendation from someone you trust is a great first step in choosing the right nursing home. Ask this person about their experience with the facility, including how well their loved one was cared for and any problems they had with the nursing home.
- Visit at different times of the day. Seeing the nursing home facility for yourself is a critical step in making your decision, but don’t just visit once. Go see the facility during the morning, afternoon and evening to get a real feel for how the facility is operated and how the residents are cared for. Most nursing homes have more staff on duty in the morning, so visiting only during that time might give you a false sense of how well the facility is staffed. This is an important factor to consider, as one of the biggest problems in the nursing home industry is inadequate staffing.
- While visiting the facility, pay close attention to the staff. Do they seem to always be in a hurry, unable to keep up with the residents’ demands? Or do they take the time to talk with residents, answer their questions, and ask them how they are doing? A nursing home is only as good as its staff members; if they don’t seem to want to be there, your loved one probably won’t either.
- Observe and talk to the residents. Do they seem to be upset, depressed or withdrawn? Or are they singing, interacting with one another, and going about their day in a happy manner? It will be difficult for residents to be happy and upbeat in a facility where their caregivers ignore them, talk down to them or neglect them. Residents may be reluctant to tell you if they are experiencing problems, but you should be able to get a sense of whether they are happy in the facility.
- Tour the facility without a guide. Nursing home tour guides are salespeople, trained to tell you and show you certain things. Look past the sales pitch and pay attention to the staff and residents on your own to make a reliable assessment.
- Keep an eye out for cleanliness. When you’re walking down the hallway, does it smell clean or do you smell urine, mildew or feces? Check out the nurses’ station and see whether it is clean or cluttered and disorganized. Observe the nursing staff and see whether they are complaining about residents or actually helping them.
- Visit the facility during several different meals. Are the residents sitting together and interacting or do they sit by themselves? Ask to taste the food to determine its quality. Do the residents seem to eat all the food or leave most of it on the tray? In general, do the residents look healthy or excessively thin? If you can make it to the facility during lunch one day and dinner another, observe whether there is a variety of food or if it is the same day to day. For those residents who are bedridden, are their trays collected promptly, or are they left in their rooms with dirty trays hours after the meal was served?
Preventing Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
The first step towards reducing the incidence of nursing home abuse is choosing a facility that is adequately staffed and clean, and employs well-trained, attentive and friendly staff members. Nursing home abuse and neglect are devastating issues that affect nursing home residents across the country. Unfortunately, many instances of nursing home abuse go unreported because residents are afraid of staff member retaliation, or because family members simply don’t recognize the warning signs, which are often subtle or nonexistent. If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, contact an experienced Oklahoma nursing home abuse attorney for legal help, as you may be able to hold the allegedly negligent nursing home liable for your injuries.