Today we want to discuss items to consider when selecting a nursing home for loved ones. Of course, we all want to be able to take care of our older family members the way that they once cared for us, but we are not always necessarily suited to be able to do so. Taking on the responsibility of caring for an older family member is not like taking on the responsibility of having a child–it isn’t something you can plan for. If you are unsure how much time and energy you can devote to caring for a loved one, then the best thing that you can do for them is finding a facility that can fully meet their needs.
This decision to put your loved ones into a nursing home is never an easy choice and often comes with a lot of guilt. You should be able to trust that, when selecting a nursing home, your loved ones will be receiving the highest level of care. This is unfortunately not always the case. In fact, nearly 95% of elders will see or experience abuse and neglect in some way.
In comparison to direct abuse, elder neglect might not seem as serious of an issue, but neglect can take many forms and have deadly consequences. The most obvious form of neglect is when nursing home residents are left alone. In some cases, elders are not able to take care of their own health needs like maintaining their personal hygiene or taking their medication as directed, and their overall wellbeing will deteriorate as a result. If an elder stays sedentary, sitting in their own filth for too long, they could see severe skin rashes or bed sores start to spread on their body. These skin conditions could worsen the longer they go untreated and become infected, putting the inflicted elder at risk for more adverse health problems, or even death. Needless to say, both of these risks are also very real possibilities in the event that neglect leads to a patient’s medication not being administered correctly, opening the door for the worsening of any number of health conditions that the patient might suffer from.
In terms of neglect, preventative care is just as important as proactive care. While it is important for nursing home workers to be monitoring the health of their patients, they should also be closely supervising them to prevent any potentially fatal accidents–such as trips and falls, choking during meals, or wandering from the premises. The presence of an aid can make all the difference in the likelihood that an elderly patient survives one of these incidents. It is for this reason that nursing homes can be held financially accountable for any medical bills or pain and suffering associated with the wrongful death or injury of a patient if it is suspected to have been caused by staff negligence.
Being an effective caregiver takes a tremendous amount of patience and compassion–something that not every person who enters the healthcare field possesses. Patients are at risk of suffering some kind of verbal, physical, mental, or sexual abuse in an elderly care facility. Direct abuse, depending on the type, does not always necessarily put patients at a higher risk of death, but can still have adverse effects on their physical and emotional well-being, and elderly care facilities can still be found at-fault for any abuse that patients face at the hands of their caregivers.
Preventing Neglect and Abuse
The first step you can take toward preventing your loved ones from suffering any neglect or abuse from a caregiver is doing an extensive background check on any potential nursing homes. Try to find reviews from current or previous residents, their family members, or past employees of the care facility. It’s important to try to find real testimonies from both sides of the operation, that way you can not only guarantee the satisfaction of your loved one, but you can also guarantee that proper procedures are being followed behind the scenes to ensure their safety.
If you find an elderly care facility that stands out above the rest, consider taking a visit to the premises before fully committing. While there, take note of staff presence. What is the ratio of staff members to patients? Does that seem like enough to prevent accidents from occurring, or does their attention seem to be spread thin among the residents? Also, pay attention to the way that they interact with the residents. Do the residents seem comfortable and relaxed around their caregivers, or do they appear to be shying away, maybe in fear, at the smallest interaction?
This research could help you pick the right nursing home for your loved one, and could help prevent them from suffering through their remaining years.