It is a parent’s responsibility to protect their child from dangerous or unhealthy situations. Most parents take this very seriously and do everything they can to keep their children safe from harm. They take steps to avoid household dangers to toddlers and always ask their teenagers where they are going, who they will be with and what time they will be home.
Then, seemingly overnight, the child takes on the role of the adult and the elderly parent is the one in need of protection. If you feel that you can no longer manage your parent’s physical or mental care, you are probably exploring various options for assistance. This no longer automatically translates into placement in a nursing home, but when that is the wisest alternative, you naturally want to find the best available facility the family can afford.
Nursing care widely varies
Unfortunately, the quality of care in nursing homes widely varies. Horror stories about cases of nursing home neglect are a regular news staple. Neglect can take many forms, including:
- Emotional or Social – the resident is regularly ignored or isolated
- Hygiene – lack of necessary assistance with personal hygiene, laundry or other self-care
- Basic Needs– lack of adequate nutrition, hydration or unsafe or unhealthy surroundings
- Medical – failure to prevent or to recognize and provide prompt treatment for illnesses or injuries
Of course, nobody deliberately puts their loved one’s health or well-being at risk, but, unlike signs of intentional physical or mental abuse, evidence of neglect is often more subtle and difficult for an inexperienced individual to spot. Neglect can occur in what are otherwise clean, pleasant and well-run facilities.
That is why it is so important for caregivers and families to do their homework before choosing a nursing home. There is simply no substitute for asking informed questions and making thorough observations when comparing facilities.
Naturally, any visible unsanitary or unhealthy conditions are probably reason enough to scratch a facility from your list. However, here are just a few less obvious signs that a facility may not be one that will consistently treat your family member with respect and care:
Staff Attitudes and Conduct
Ask about staff-to-resident ratios and also what percentage of the staff are Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses or hold some other license. Observe the staff interaction with residents. Making conversation with residents during meals and activities can help avoid isolation and withdrawal.
Responsive, involved leadership is essential. It is very rare to find high-quality care at a facility whose director declines to meet with you or does not appear to be a familiar sight among staff and residents.
High Staff Turnover Rate
Relatively low pay and high-stress levels make some staff turnover at most nursing homes an unfortunate reality. But consistency is crucial to a nursing home patient’s well-being, and constant changes in staff-resident pairings suggest shortcomings in the facility’s treatment of both its caregivers and residents.
No matter how careful you are in selecting a nursing home, you may come to find that your loved one has suffered from neglect at the hands of the facility. I am a nursing home liability lawyer in Norristown, PA. If you believe your family member is the victim of a nursing home’s neglect, it is important that you act promptly in order to protect their legal rights. Do not delay – call for a consultation today.