As your loved ones get older, making the decision to have them go into a nursing home can be difficult. There are many things that you may have concerns about, and you want to go into this decision as confidently as possible. How do you know, though, that you are choosing the best possible place for your loved one? A few months ago, we posted a checklist of things that you’ll want to check off before choosing a nursing home. Now, we want you to understand some of the most important questions to ask a potential nursing facility so you can be sure your loved one is safe.
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, our nursing home abuse attorneys understand your fear of entrusting your loved one to strangers. We specialize in nursing home injuries, making sure the negligent party is held accountable. Don’t let something like this happen to your loved one. By taking the time to properly analyze your options and make sure you ask the right questions to your nursing home, you can make sure they are the right fit for your loved one moving forward.
What Are the Turn Schedules?
Residents confined to their beds must have a turn schedule set up so that they’re rotated properly. This is to make sure the patient doesn’t develop pressure ulcers, or bedsores, caused by laying for too long in the same position. Bedsores cause the skin and tissues to break down, leading to a painful injury that may develop a severe infection.
What Are the Hiring Processes?
There are so many people entrusted with your loved one’s care, including staff members, nurses, and any other professionals who may visit, spend time with, or treat the patients in the nursing home. While this is normally a good thing because you know there will be adequate help around, you will want to make sure that the nursing home hired the right people.
What kind of hiring process do they have? Are there background checks? What kind of training or experience is necessary? What is the registered-nurse-to-resident ratio? These are important things to know.
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How Many Staff Members Does the Nursing Home Have?
As you check the nursing home out, you want to make sure there is an adequate amount of staff. With less staff members, there are fewer opportunities for your loved one to get the attention they deserve. They may be overlooked when trying to get out of bed, resulting in a fall, bone fracture or head bleed.
Are There Regular Check Ups and Monitoring?
While initial background checks and training upon hiring are important, it is also important to make sure the staff is monitored on an ongoing basis to make sure nothing compromises patient safety. Ask the nursing home if they check up on their employees often and provide safety training.
Can the staff perform emergency treatment if necessary? Has anyone on the staff started acting strangely around some of the patients? These are things that must be determined before placing your loved ones in the home.
Is There a History of Abuse?
It’s a difficult situation to bring up, but aside from doing your own research on any history of abuse, you will want to ask the nursing home. This will not only give you information regarding their history,but if you have done proper research to identify abuse and they lie to you about it, you will know and be able to react accordingly.
If there has been any history of abuse, you don’t necessarily need to write the place off completely, but you want to know if the nursing home is under new ownership, the steps they took to correct the abuse and if the associated staff members are gone.
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Are There Standards in Place to Identify Abuse?
You want to make sure there are policies in place if another patient or worker notices abuse or signs of abuse. For instance, if one staff member sees another harming a patient, what are they required to do? Can they report it to someone without having to worry about retaliation? What if they just notice potential signs of abuse, but not the actual abuse? Can they still report it?
A nursing home should have standards in place that allows these parties to speak up safely.
Does the Nursing Home Encourage Reports of Abuse?
Unfortunately, if an elderly patient is harmed, they may hesitate to report it out of fear that the abuse may worsen or that something else can happen to them. This is often true of other workers who witness the abuse as well.
Some nursing homes have programs in place that encourage the reporting of abuse by both patients and staff members alike. Check to see if the nursing home you’re considering has a similar program so you know that your loved one has a voice when something goes wrong.
What Happens Once Abuse is Reported?
You should make sure that the nursing home has policies to take action once abuse has been reported. Will an investigation launch to determine if it did happen? If it did, will the employee be terminated? If anyone witnessed the action, but failed to report it, are they subject to discipline as well?
The way nursing homes handle matters of abuse is crucial in making sure the patients — present and future — feel safe and have some peace of mind when they move in. If there are no policies in place and you find that a worker accused of abuse is still working at the nursing home you are considering, either address it directly or simply look for somewhere else.
Dedicated Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
If your loved one was harmed as a result of nursing home abuse, you may have a right to pursue legal action. Nursing home abuse includes anything from physical abuse, neglect, malnourishment, emotional abuse, and more. Making sure your loved ones feel safe in their new living condition is important, and they should fully understand their rights if something does happen.