Safety in Nursing Home Care
It can be a difficult decision, but a necessary one. In some cases, an elderly person may request to move to residential care. There may be concerns of becoming a burden. In others, the family makes the choice to relocate their loved one to residential care. Safety is among the largest concerns in nursing home care. Physical and mental decline are other considerations. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse also exists.
Choosing a Nursing Home
In choosing the proper long-term care facility, it is important to conduct a tour of the nursing home. Ask questions. Find out the residential capacity and the current patient count. Determine if the facility has staffing concerns. What is the ratio of caregiver to resident? What guidelines are set up to keep you in touch regarding your loved one?
Nursing homes are overseen by a number of federal and state agencies. The New Jersey Department of Health provides documentation concerning inspections and licensing procedures. If you determine there is an issue with an individual provider, you may file a report by calling 1-800-792-9770. This service is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Ensuring your Loved One’s Safety
Some family members are installing cameras in their family member’s nursing home rooms. We previously gave you information about this innovative idea. However, residents are not always in their rooms. For some, it may not be feasible to set up a monitoring system. Here are some things to look for to ensure that your loved one’s safety is not an issue:
- Bedsores – these can be avoided with proper care
- Unexplained bruises
- Restraints of any kind
- Sudden decline in physical or mental status
- Patient appears fearful of particular staff member
- Patient alerts family to potential misconduct
Physical or Mental Decline
An article that appeared in J Psychosoc Nurse Mental Health Service, documents the issue of decline in individuals who enter long-term facilities. The article acknowledges that the relocation can affect a patient’s physical or mental decline. It suggests that geriatric caregivers can help with the process. As a family member, what can you do?
First, keep in touch with your loved one. Call. Send notes. Visit as often as possible. If feasible, provide reading materials. If someone becomes unable to communicate with you, do not assume the person cannot hear you. People respond to soothing words and a subtle touch.
Next, keep in touch with the facility’s social worker and other caregivers. Do not be shy about asking for assistance. See what the nursing home is doing to encourage your loved one’s comfort.
When Something Goes Wrong
Nursing home abuse is a reality. If you suspect your loved one is being mistreated, you need legal advice. The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone has many years of experience regarding these types of cases. Contact us to discuss your concerns.