If you have made the choice to place your loved one in an assisted living facility, then it is crucial that you choose a facility you are comfortable with, and that will properly care for your loved one. Family members often agonize over these decisions, and rightfully so. You are turning over the care of your loved one to strangers, so you need to be sure that you make the right choice. Once your loved one is in a nursing home, there are steps you can take to ensure that they are receiving good care.
Visit When Possible
You need to visit with your friends and family members in a nursing home as much as possible. This is one reason why most families make the choice to put their loved one in a nursing home that is located near where they live. When you visit, you gain first-hand knowledge about the state of the facility. You are also able to examine the current physical and mental health of your loved one as well as the condition of their living space.
Observe Staff Behavior
We strongly advise that you observe staff behavior every time you visit your loved one in the nursing home. When you are making your observations, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do staff members appear to be trained properly?
- Do staff members wash their hands or use disinfectant before interacting with residents?
- Do the staff members know your loved one by name?
- How much time does the staff spend interacting with residents as opposed to interacting with each other?
- Do staff members respond promptly when they are called for?
- Do staff members respect the residents, and do the residents respect the staff members?
- Does the facility have a noticeable infection prevention plan, and do they review it annually?
By observing staff member behaviors and interactions, you can gain a fair amount of information about the quality of care that your loved one may or may not be receiving. Any red flags that you notice while you are asking yourself these questions can help you understand if any neglect or abuse may be occurring.
Check the Nursing Home’s Ratings Online
Nearly all nursing homes across the country can be found on the Medicare website dedicated to keeping track of nursing home inspections. You can go to this website and find the nursing home where your loved one is located. The Medicare site keeps track of basic information about the nursing home and also gives an overall rating of the facility. This rating includes rankings related to health inspections, staff ratings, and other quality measures. You will also be able to see the facility has had any instances of nursing home abuse or neglect within the last year.
Join or Form a Family Council
After you have moved your loved one into their new nursing home facility, you need to find out if the facility has a family council. Family councils are similar to neighborhood watches, though the watch is for a nursing home. These committees are designed to monitor the facility and advocate for the residents who live there if they notice any concerns. If the facility where your loved one is now living does not have a family council, you could consider starting one. A family council ensures that there is always someone monitoring the conditions within the facility.