Secrets Of Assessing Nursing Home Quality And Fit For Our Beloved Elders
As we grow older it’s possible that someday we may no longer be able to take care of ourselves. If we’re fortunate, we are surrounded by loved ones who can and are willing to assist us. Sometimes, however, we are dealt other circumstances. With partial disability we may qualify for various kinds of assisted living, sometimes in our own home and worst case in a special facility. Those of us for whom assisted living is inadequate are probably bound for a nursing home.
Certainly, for the most part, nursing homes serve a noble purpose and operate respectfully. As baby boomers age and we live longer and longer our senior population is exploding. Nursing homes, too, are growing rapidly to meet that demand. With such rapid growth, nursing home neglect and elder abuse are also on the rise. Great care must be taken in selecting a nursing home for our loved ones.
Assessing Nursing Home Facilities
Be prepared to spend a considerable amount of time researching the nursing home before you decide on one. Don’t judge nursing homes solely on a guided tour or nice furniture or attractive facility features.
Talk With Family Members
Talk with other family members or friends who have relatives in the home. Talk with friends and family members of the nursing home residents. If they experienced difficulties with the home, do you want to chance similar problems?
Visit With Nursing Home Residents
Find at least one resident in the facility with whom you can visit. Avoid facilities where access is restricted and you’re directed only to residents willing to talk. Halls, rooms and residents should not smell of urine and feces. Bad smells may indicate residents may not be changed and cleaned frequently enough.
Walk the halls and talk to bedridden wheelchair bound residents. As you talk to them, listen to their mood — are they upbeat or depressed? Check out their appearance, skin quality, nail and oral care. Be concerned if many are confused or unable to have normal conversation.
Visit Nursing Homes During Meal Times
Observe residents who are fed in their beds. Are trays sitting in front of residents without assistance? Are aides scurrying room to room to feed bedridden residents? How much time does the aide spend with each resident? Are water pitchers full of fresh water and within reach of residents in their rooms? Do any of aides offer water to residents unable to get it themselves?
In the dining area, how many seniors appear to be thin compared to general senior groups? If possible eat a meal yourself at the nursing home to judge it’s quality. Is the food cold? How much of food is actually eaten?
Nursing Home Staffing
Visit the facility at different times of day. Staffing levels often peak in the morning and make everything appear well run. Nursing homes are often staffed less on weekends and weekday evenings. Ask about staffing levels for each shift: morning, evening and night. How many nurses are on duty? How many certified nursing assistants are on duty?
Nursing Home Law
Medicare regulations require each facility have the latest state survey of the facility readily available for review. See if there are basic nursing care or basic medical care concerns. Check Medicare’s website for nursing home facts: most recent federal survey results, nursing home populations and facts about nursing home ownership.
Nursing Home Lawyer
Great care must be taken in selecting a nursing home for our loved ones. We owe it to our senior family members to protect their quality of life in their final years. Do your homework thoroughly and you’re more likely know they’re safe and well cared for. Be vigilant, keep your eyes and ears open and ask questions if anything seems out of line. Seek counsel immediately if you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect. Your elders thank you in advance.