As a loved one ages and it becomes difficult to provide the necessary level of care, deciding how to best keep them safe can be a struggle. Unfortunately, as we grow older other facets of care are necessary to maintain the healthiest way of living as possible. One of these options is entering into a nursing home, rehabilitation, or aftercare facility. Although it is tough for any family member to enter a nursing home, there are many ways to look for and evaluate these institutions to ensure that your loved one is cared for safely and properly in a clean, healthy environment.
The first tip is vital to ensure your loved one maintains their health and can be easily spotted if you know what you’re looking for. Cleanliness of a facility is of the utmost importance and can be revealed by simply looking past the furnishings and general cleanliness of the surrounding areas but by glancing in corners, at baseboards, and by scents. By following your nose and being alert as to whether the surrounding area smells badly can reveal how well the staff is changing and tending to the patients, how often deep cleaning is done, and whether proper sanitation requirements are being met within the facility.
The food in a nursing home or assisted living facility can also be an indicator as to whether the facility is properly caring for your loved one. Of course, dining with your loved one not only helps them and gives them the enjoyment of having company, but it also allows you to see if the food being served is meeting dietary requirements, is palatable, and if food restrictions are being met. As we all get older we begin losing our appetites and have many sensory changes so picky eating habits are possible, however if you are noticing that your loved one is gladly indulging in the food you bring and not eating the food the facility is serving them there might be a problem and attention should be drawn to this matter.
Sounds around an assisted living or nursing home environment can sometimes be disturbing due to patients moaning, yelling, or other bodily functions. A patient moaning or yelling, although unsettling, is somewhat normal due to issues such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, the sounds you should be paying attention to are how the staff addresses the patients, each other, and guests within the facility. Staff should typically address the patient by their name, unless otherwise requested, as a sign of respect and professionalism. Also, listening to the staff and their patterns of speaking to one another can determine whether the staff is respectful of each other, if there is tension, or if the staff is on good terms and promote a healthy working environment.
Another factor to pay attention to is whether the staff seems overworked or under stress. A good way to get insider information on this subject is to just plainly ask the nurse’s assistants and medical staff if they work a lot of overtime, double shifts, and how much time they receive off per week. If the staff is overworked it can be translated into being overstressed. An overstressed staff means that the amount of care patients receive and attention to details could suffer. Poor staffing ratios could also contribute to lack of attention or care of your loved one so always inquire to the director of the facility about staff to patient ratios. If ratios seem low, look into the state requirements and file a claim against the facility if the requirements are not being met.
Lastly, observe if personal care needs are being met and also keep an eye out for unexplained bruises and bed sores. If a memo to staff is putting limitations of number of times the residents are changed per day, the home has lax protocol on handling falls and/or accidents, and there are unexplained bedsores and/or bruises then there is definitely a problem that may be related to nursing home abuse or resident neglect.
Observing issues such as these is a must and notifying the proper authorities and taking the correct steps in order to report and resolve these issues is vital for not only your loved one, but other patients within the facility. It is up to you to observe and report and ensure that the care and needs of your loved one are being met.
If you have any questions or would like to speak to a Paducah, KY nursing home abuse lawyer about the safety of your loved one, don’t hesitate to get in touch with my Kentucky-based office. At Daryl T. Dixon Law, we can help you relocate your loved one to a safer environment and get you the quality legal counsel your family requires.