There are 1.5 million people in the United States who live in nursing homes today. They are among the most vulnerable of us, depending on others for the very basics of life: food, hygiene, safety and medical care.
Unfortunately, not all nursing homes meet an acceptable standard of care. You can prevent nursing home injuries before they occur. This article will provide you with information that you need to evaluate nursing home facilities and to understand your rights.
Nursing Home Responsibilities:
Nursing homes are responsible for ensuring the safety and care of its residents. They must ensure that its residents have secure and clean living conditions, proper nourishment, hygiene and medical care. The following are some instances where a nursing home may be negligent:
Most residents of nursing homes need assistance with the basics of daily living. Many of these people also have medical needs as well. To maintain this care requires proper staffing, training and supervision.
The majority of nursing homes are for profit institutions, many of which are owned by large corporations. One of the easiest ways to increase profits is to reduce staffing costs. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, many nursing homes operating in the United States are understaffed to the point where they endanger the welfare of their patients.
So, what can you do if someone you love requires nursing home care? The best thing is to be an informed customer by doing your research. Following are some resources that you can use to help you in selecting a nursing home:
Making a Site Visit:
To really get to know a nursing home, you need to see it for yourself. AARP recommends making an unscheduled site visit to really get a sense of things. If it’s during regular business hours, stop in and ask for the administrator, who should be on site. If not, ask for the next person in charge to show you around. Be sure to ask about the ratio of caregivers to residents or seek a copy of the staffing schedule.
Sights and sounds will be your guide. Look at how the facility is maintained. Is it clean? How does it smell? The smell of urine or feces is a big red flag that says go elsewhere. Also, visit the bathroom. What you really want to check out is the hot water. A common complaint is the lack of hot water, especially in larger homes.
Beyond this, observe how the staff interacts with residents. Do the residents seem happy? Do they seem engaged, or are they just sitting around in wheel chairs? Is anyone calling out repeatedly without being answered or attended to?
What is the quality of the food? Do the residents like their food, or just leave on trays? Hang around during meal time. Many nursing home residents require assistance with eating their meals. Is there enough time feed all the residents, or is staff rushed?
Conducting a thorough visit and knowing what to look for can help you to make an informed choice.
Even with the most carefully planning, abuse can occur. Your loved ones won’t always tell you about abuse. In some cases, they may unable to due to physical or mental limitations. In other cases, they won’t discuss the abuse because they are afraid it will become worse, or they don’t want worry you. You need to know the signs of abuse. These may include:
What You Can Do:
These are some steps that you can take if you suspect abuse or neglect:
Finally, if you believe that a loved one has been the victim of neglect or abuse in a nursing home or assisted living facility, get legal counsel. You may be able to collect damages. To learn more about your legal rights, call the nursing home experts at Lundy Law.
We’ll fight for you and your loved ones.