How do I get better care for a loved one who is in a nursing home?

The purpose of a care facility—assisted living, nursing home, hospital, etc—is to provide the level of help necessary for a person either to rehabilitate from an injury or surgery, or simply to reside safely on a day-to-day basis. Because these residents are all either physically and/or mentally unable to fully care for themselves, they’re especially vulnerable to accidental and intentional failures of care. Sadly, we here at The Ruth Law Team are familiar with the tragic outcomes resulting from substandard, negligent and abusive care. We understand all too well how easily our frail and elderly loved ones can suffer permanent injury and even death when staffing levels are insufficient and employees are not properly trained or are poorly supervised. Doing one thing could be the difference between your loved one suffering from a nursing home’s negligence or abuse or receiving the care and respect they deserve. The very best tool to protect your loved one is frequent visitation on different days and at varying times. Not only does will this help put your family member or friend at ease, but it will help ensure the staff is providing proper treatment.

It can take a good bit of research, review, and exploration to understand all that’s involved in deciding on a facility. Once all of this is done and your loved one is settled in the care facility, how do you make sure he or she is getting the care they need? Facilities are regulated by state law and generally required to have a care plan in place that is shared with the appropriate family members or guardians and is updated regularly. Of course, while that is helpful and should be given careful review, it hardly tells the whole story. There is no substitute for eyes-on observation of your loved one, the staff, and the facility. If you don’t live in the area, hopefully you have a trusted friend or relative who can help you with this.

Here are a few things to be mindful of during the nursing home visits:

  1. What is the general condition of your loved one, and is it significantly different from the previous visit? Does he or she voice any concerns, if able?
  2. Is there fresh hydration available in the form of an easily accessible water container? Dehydration can be a serious problem in the elderly or ill.
  3. Is the room clean, bed linens fresh, trash container emptied, and toilet and bathing facilities sanitary?
  4. What is the presence of staff? How quickly does someone respond to a summons via call button?
  5. Does the staff seem friendly and address your loved one in an appropriate manner?
  6. While the majority of the staff presence will be CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistants), there should always be an RN or LPN on duty. Be sure to seek that person out and introduce yourself. If time permits, you might ask if there are any pressing concerns about or needs for your loved one.

Showing your face as often as possible may not prevent all negligence, as we know it’s impossible to be present with your family member at all times. However, it is a big step in ensuring the care of your loved one. If you don’t live in the area or are unable to frequently visit, try to have a trusted friend or other family member check in often. For more information on how our nursing home abuse attorneys may be able to able to assist you and your loved one, call 888-345-5849 to speak to someone for free today.