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Five Things To Watch Out For When Choosing A Nursing Home

Five Things to Watch Out for When Choosing a Nursing Home

It’s never easy to decide that your loved one must move into a nursing home, and choosing the right one is difficult. But whether you are evaluating a residential facility or visiting your loved one after admission, it’s important to keep your eyes open for signs that they may not be receiving good care.

Residents may report abuse or poor care, but more often, it is visitors who notice problems. These are five warning signs that the nursing home may not be treating residents properly and delivering the supportive care they deserve.

Violation History

State and federal agencies regulate nursing homes. These strict regulations help identify facilities that need improvement. You can search for different nursing homes in your ZIP code area using a tool at Medicare.gov. The facilities are rated on factors such as health inspections and staffing violations in a Five-Star Quality Rating System. This helps you compare nursing homes.

There are other search engines that rank nursing homes in your area as well, such as one at U.S. News. Most nursing homes will have minor violations. However, it is the severity of the violation that makes a difference. For example, a violation for the incorrect placement of a soap dispenser is different than one in which a nursing home allowed a resident to wander off the property.

High Staff Turnover

A high rate of turnover among staff leads to a higher number of poorly trained staff on the floor, or possibly an inadequate number of staff to care for the residents. You can ask what the staff retention rate is during a tour and look for staff turnover when you routinely visit your loved one at the nursing home.

If you consistently see new faces, it’s a good sign that the facility is undergoing a high rate of turnover. While most facilities have times when staff turnover is more rapid, it is a red flag when it happens consistently.

Unexplained Bruises or Changes in Health

It is important to ask questions while you’re visiting, either to evaluate the home or while visiting your loved one. Ask the staff to explain strong odors, changes in your loved one’s health condition, or bruises your loved one cannot explain. It is a red flag if the staff are unwilling to answer your questions or are dismissive or try to evade your questions.

Staff Interactions with Residents

Pay attention to how the staff interacts with the residents, both with your loved one and anyone else in the facility. Staff members should treat the elderly with respect and honor. Staff who yell or treat residents with disrespect will likely do the same to your loved one. Call lights should be answered promptly, and residents who ask for help or ask questions should receive the same level of respect as visitors.

Staff to Resident Ratio

A strong indication of how well your loved one can be taken care of is strictly a function of numbers. The staff-to-resident ratio will tell you how many staff members there are for every resident in the facility.

The administration should give this number to you during your tour and at any time that you ask while your loved one is a resident. If the administrators are inaccessible for your questions or appear incompetent, this is another red flag.

Contact The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, P.L.L.C., Today if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services require an inspection of any nursing home that receives money from the government. Residential facilities that do not pass inspection are not certified. Be sure to see the current inspection report and certification of any home you are considering.

If you believe your loved one has experienced abuse at the hands of nursing home staff, contact The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, P.L.L.C., today. Nursing home injuries are serious problems, and your loved one deserves to be protected. Call our office today at 757-260-3675 for a free case evaluation and consultation about your loved one’s personal injury case.


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Carlton F. Bennett Mr. Bennett is recognized as an expert in traumatic brain damage litigation, nursing home malpractice, and wrongful death cases. He has obtained numerous multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts for traumatic brain injury survivors, and other cases involving serious injuries.
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