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Updated February 18, 2020
When it’s time to move your elderly loved one into a long-term care facility, you need to do your research. Abuse is a reality for approximately 10 percent of people age 60 and older in the United States, and although statistics vary widely, abuse and neglect can happen in nursing homes.
Take these tips and warning signs into account when searching for a nursing home.
Nothing is more important than visiting potential facilities in person. Be sure to stop by at various times—during the day, in the evening, on weekends, during mealtimes or activities, etc.—to make sure care is consistent. Ask questions, be observant, and trust your gut.
While visiting long-term care facilities, look out for these warning signs.
The nursing home staff should be familiar with and respectful of the residents, knowing their names and taking the time to speak with them. Additionally, the facility should not be understaffed; pay attention to the ratio of staff to residents.
A facility with a history of severe violations, failed inspections, or staff complaints is a big red flag. Fortunately, there is an excellent nursing home research tool—the comparative search tool—on the Medicare website. You can use the tool to search for and compare nursing homes via ZIP code. If a facility has a low star rating, read the nursing home’s full report to see details of previous violations.
Structure and routine are important, of course, but a lack of choices and variety is worrying. Nursing home residents should have the choice of what and when to eat, when to sleep and wake up, and what to wear. Look for variety in meal options and entertainment, too.
When you walk into the nursing home, the environment should be relaxing. This is your elderly loved one’s new home, so they should be able to feel comfortable. A noisy or chaotic environment can lead to agitation and stress.
Pay attention to the facility’s visitation policy. You should be able to visit your loved one whenever you are able, and the nursing home should make it easy for you to do so. Make sure you can visit all throughout the day as well as join them for activities and meals.
Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are when choosing a nursing home or long-term care facility, abuse can still occur. If you suspect that your elderly loved one is being abused or exploited, contact the Indianapolis Nursing Home and Elder Abuse Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you fight for the compensation your family deserves.
Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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