Choose a nursing home by doing some research, visiting facilities and asking questions says Boca nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne.
If you’re in the difficult position of having to put a loved one in the care of a nursing home or assisted living facility you need to do the best you can to find the right place. Though instances of abuse and neglect in nursing homes and assisted living are not uncommon, most residents are cared for and treated appropriately. Boca nursing home abuse attorney Joe Osborne says you need to check out facilities yourself to see for yourself which one would be a good match for your family member.
AARP has suggestions for what to look for and questions to ask at nursing homes when you visit them.
- What does the food look and taste like? Do the meals meet dietary requirements? Do they taste good? Visually appealing? Malnutrition is a major problem for nursing home residents and if the food’s not appealing residents may not eat and lose weight.
- What sounds do you hear? Hearing someone moaning or yelling “help” is rarely a sign of poor treatment. It’s more likely the result of dementia. You should listen for how staff addresses residents. Staff should address residents by their names, not “Mama” or “Grandpa.” Residents need to feel respected. If music is playing does it sound like it’s for the benefit of staff or residents?
- What does it smell like? Some bad smells are inevitable. Some medications and diets can make residents gassy. Elderly residents are more likely to lose bladder and bowel control. But if the facility reeks of stale urine, it could be a sign that the facility is not cleaned properly.
- Is the staff overworked? Ask the staff if they work a lot of overtime and double shifts. If so, that’s an indication the staff is running short and stressed out which can impact patient care. Ask for the facility’s staffing ratios and see if how they compare to others on the Nursing Home Compare tool at Medicare.gov.
- How are residents spending their afternoons? A crowd of residents circling the nurses’ station or watching people come and go through the front door can be a good sign because they’re not stuck in their rooms, alone, watching TV. A good nursing home will have a calendar of activities for residents.
- How does the staff interact with each other? Listen to what the staff is staying to each other. Are they rude? If so they’ll probably be rude to residents. Does the staff spend more time chatting with each other or with residents? The more interaction with residents the better.
- Do you see bruising? Though not necessarily a sign of abuse they shouldn’t be ignored. A finger-shaped bruise on an upper arm is very suspicious as are handprint-shaped marks on the face or stomach or bruises on the back, which could be caused by falls.
- How does the facility handle a fall? Falls can happen even in the best nursing homes but the difference is how the staff reacts to one. Is the person checked for injuries? Will they safely get the person off the floor? Was the person checked later for injuries that didn’t appear at first? Are family members notified of falls? They should be.
If you need to find a nursing home or assisted living facility for a loved one do your homework, visit the facility and make the best decision you can. If your trust is misplaced and despite your efforts your family member is abused or neglected, don’t blame yourself. It’s the facility and its staff that’s responsible says nursing home negligence lawyer Osborne.
If you have questions about nursing home or assisted living facility neglect or abuse in the South Florida area, contact Boca nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 293-2600 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your loved one’s injuries.