There are 16,100 nursing homes in the U.S. and the truth is not all of them operate the way they should. Poor living conditions, under-staffing, negligence and abuse are among the problems nursing home residents face. That’s why it’s so important for friends and family to be active in their loved one’s care. Whether you’re looking for a nursing home for a loved one or if your loved one is already living in a nursing home, here are 5 nursing home secrets you need to know.
Secret #1: Nursing homes show their true colors during mealtimes. If you are searching for a nursing home, this is a great time of day to visit. It’s when employees are under the greatest stress. Some residents have their meals served to them in their rooms, while others eat in the dining room. This gives you opportunity to see what they’re eating (Does it look appetizing? Is it healthful?), whether the dining hall is clean or messy, and if employees are interacting with residents in a friendly and respectful manner or if they’re rushed and rude. If dining time is smooth, clean, and friendly, this is a good sign.
Secret #2: Not all of the nurses are the nursing home’s employees. When nursing homes don’t have enough permanent nurses and can’t find new ones, they turn to agency nurses to fill the gaps. This is fine unless it starts to be a majority of the staff. These nurses rarely stay a long time and therefore do not have enough time to create a bond with the residents and get to know their needs. You want to make sure no more than 15% to 20% of the nursing staff consists of agency nurses. Your loved one’s nursing home should provide this statistic upon your request.
Secret #3: The activity calendar could be just for show. Every nursing home will show an impressive list of activities that residents may partake in. However, the true way to tell if these activities really happen is to show up during activities. Is the activity really happening? If so, how many residents are there? Are they having fun and participating? Make a surprise visit to check it out a few times. What you find may surprise you. If the nursing home is not staying true to their calendar on several occasions, this is a red flag.
Secret #4: Nursing homes can kick your loved one out at any time. Nursing homes cannot legally kick out a resident because they’ve run out of money and must resort to Medicaid to pay. However, they can kick someone out if they require more care than they can provide. Some homes will wrongfully kick out a resident, claiming it’s for one reason when it’s another. If this happens, you could fight it by filing a complaint. But even if you fought and won, your loved one probably wouldn’t receive good care. It’s better to just find another home and think of it as them doing you a favor. You don’t want your loved one to be in a nursing home like that.
Secret #5: The more you visit your loved one, the better care he or she will receive. This is the most important secret to your loved one’s happiness in a nursing home. Residents who have family members visit often typically get better care than those who don’t. If you live far away, find a friend or relative who can visit regularly. Even better, each time you or a family member visits, make sure to ask a few questions to staff. This shows that you’re attentive and you’ll take note if something is strange or out of place with your loved one. Be sure to be polite when you’re asking questions. You want the staff to know you’re involved, not think you’re annoying or rude.
The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona, at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.