There comes a time when an elderly family member is simply unable to take care of themselves. Old age, illnesses, and injuries can mean that your relative needs around-the-clock care, and many people simply can’t take on that extra burden. Knowing when to put a relative in a nursing facility is a difficult task, but how do you choose a nursing home for them?
At Curcio Law Offices, we understand the importance of this overwhelming and emotional task. That’s why we’ve done the research into how to choose a nursing home for your loved one. Choosing a nursing home can be incredibly difficult. With so many different options, how do you know your loved one will be well cared for? Abuse and neglect allegations are frightfully common in nursing homes, so what will happen if your loved one is injured? At Curcio Law Offices, we can help with that aspect as well. Our nursing home abuse attorneys are ready to help you pursue civil action against abusive and negligent nursing facilities. For more information about how we can help, call us today at (312) 321-1111. For more information about how to choose a nursing home, read on below.
What is a Nursing Home?
The term ‘nursing home’ is an umbrella term that can include many different short-term and long-term care facilities. These facilities are often called skilled nursing facilities, residential care homes, and rest homes. Nursing home facilities are places people can go when they need short or long-term care under the supervision of a registered nurse. These facilities provide skilled nursing care for people who cannot do it themselves. With so many different options available, how should people choose the best one for their loved ones? Read on below for our how-to guide on picking the right nursing home.
Begin the Search Before You Need It
The biggest piece of advice we can offer is to begin the search before you need it. Waiting until the last minute can force your hand and limit your options. Talk to your loved one and their doctor about making the move to a nursing home. Your family member may need specialized care from a skilled nursing facility. You may need to search for a facility that offers physical therapy for its residents. The choice depends on the health care needs of your family member.
Visit the Nursing Home
You can start making your list from options online, but pictures only tell part of the story. In-person visits can ensure that you are picking the best option for your loved one. Visiting the nursing home can also ensure that a knowledgeable staff member can answer any questions you may have. Keep an eye out for obvious health/safety issues. Normal wear and tear is common for any facility, but some issues present a large problem for elderly residents with mobility issues. Uncovered cords, frayed carpets, and miscellaneous items in walkways can be a major warning sign.
Talk to Staff Members
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Staff members should be knowledgeable about their job and be able to answer most of your questions about the facility. If the staff member doesn’t care about their job or residents, it may be time to look elsewhere. Watch how the staff members interact with other residents. Are they calm, polite, and compassionate? Or do they ignore residents and treat them with disrespect?
Ask About Socialization
Physical health is important, but so is mental health. Being cooped up in a new place with unfamiliar faces will be hard on your loved one. If the nursing home has a calendar full of social events, your family member will be more likely to make friends and acquaintances.
Location, Location, Location
Make sure the nursing home is in a good location for you and other family members to visit. Is the location in a part of town you never visit? If so, you may find excuses not to visit your loved one.
Don’t Be Distracted by Shiny Things
Modern decor and updated living facilities may look nice, but don’t let the amenities distract you. Proper care for your loved one is more important than all the upgrades in the world. Is the dining room attractive? This may not matter if the food choices are unsafe or boring.
Nursing Home Red Flags
Keep an eye out for major red flags online and during your visit. We’ve listed some of the major warning signs below.
Lack of Certifications/Poor Inspections
Facilities that receive government funds are required to pass inspections by the state. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services hold facilities to a standard of care. If the facility fails the inspection, it cannot receive certification and it will lose government funding. Facilities without this certification should be avoided.
Restrictive Visitation Policies
Isolation can cause major issues for your loved one. The nursing home may have tightened its visitation policy due to the pandemic, but you should still be able to regularly access your family member. Make sure to ask about the visitation policy. If the nursing home doesn’t allow unscheduled visits, they may be trying to hide something.
Lack of Decision-Making Opportunities
Residents have a right to make decisions about their care. Residents should be able to make decisions about the activities they participate in, their wake and sleep schedules, and what they wear. If the residents are not allowed to make these decisions for themselves, it’s a major red flag.
Ask how long nursing home staff members have been with the facility. A high staff turnover rate or understaffing is a red flag for any facility. Constantly changing directors/administration can mean that policies can change at any moment.
Even if the staff member retention rate is high, it’s important that the same staff members are assigned to the same residents. Inconsistent staff assignments can mean poor communication regarding your loved one’s care. If the same staff members are assigned to the same residents, the staff members get a better understanding of the residents’ care and needs.
Nursing Home Green Flags
With all the talk about red flags in popular media recently, it’s important to note that there are green flags to look for as well. We’ve listed some green flags below to keep an eye out for.
Meaningful Tasks and Activities
A sudden change in environment and routine can quickly cause your loved one to feel alone and lost. A nursing facility that offers meaningful tasks and interesting activities can help ease the transition. Meaningful tasks for the residents can include delivering mail, reading to other residents, or participating in clubs. The activities a nursing home offers should be a mix of social, physical, and educational activities. A weekly knitting or yoga class can increase your family member’s chances of making friends and give them a sense of belonging in the nursing home.
Proper safety protocols are incredibly important for the safety of nursing home residents. Is there always someone stationed at the front desk? Do they ask for identification and make you sign a guest log every time you visit? Are there cameras by the front entrance and every exit point? Do they have a policy for missing residents? The answer to all these questions should be ‘yes’ in a good facility.
How the Nursing Home Injury Attorneys at Curcio Law Offices Can Help
Making the decision to put a loved one in a nursing home can be difficult. Deciding which home to put them in can come with its own set of problems. No matter what decision you make, the attorneys at Curcio Law Offices are ready to stand by and support you through this emotional time. You can rest assured that your loved one is protected. At Curcio Law Offices, we know what can happen when facilities fail to maintain a standard of care. You may choose the best possible home for your loved one, but a change in management could open up doors for abuse and neglect. At Curcio Law Offices, we’re ready to help you recover compensation from an abusive or negligent facility. Schedule a free consultation with an experienced nursing home injury attorney at Curcio by calling (312) 321-1111.