Placing someone you love in a nursing home and turning over their basic care to total strangers can be frightening. This emotional decision, though necessary for their well-being, is never easy. There are things you can do to help ensure that your loved one is properly cared for and does not become a victim of nursing home abuse and neglect.
Pay attention. Before choosing a facility it is likely that you carefully examined it to be sure it was a quality choice. It is important to remain vigilant and continue to examine the facility each and every time you visit. Watch how the staff interacts with one another and with residents. Note how the staff addresses the residents, such as using “Mr.” or “Mrs.” instead of “Grandpa” or “Grandma”. And note any strong smells. Strange and unpleasant odors are inevitable, but a strong, lingering smell of urine can indicate a lack of cleaning.
Monitor behavior. Note any changes in mood, personality, sleeping or eating habits, or physical activity of your loved one. Bruises and bedsores should be reported immediately. But not all forms of abuse show up in this way. If your loved one seems suddenly lethargic and depressed, talk to a supervisor or head nurse right away so that a formal investigation can begin.
Visit often. Frequent visits are the best way to monitor the care of your loved one. Showing up at different times each day is also important. You never want the staff to know you are coming. This will allow you to see the true state of the residents and the facility. Residents with frequent visitors are more likely to receive consistent care.
Form relationships with the staff. A personal relationship with a staff member will improve communication. It can also expedite any investigation you make regarding their care. You are more likely to be made aware of issues that arise in your absence if you have a staff member that knows you well enough to feel comfortable contacting you.
Take action if you suspect abuse. Do not ignore even the smallest sign of abuse or neglect. File a report and follow up with a supervisor to see that the issue was properly addressed. Every nursing home resident needs an abuse advocate, someone who is always watching and not afraid to make waves to see that there is change. Any action is worth it if it eliminates the bad behavior.
If you suspect that someone you love has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact Welsh & Welsh, Omaha, NE nursing home abuse lawyer. Our experienced legal team believes that every elderly individual has the right to respectful nursing home treatment and care. Contact Welsh & Welsh today for a free, no-obligation consultation of your case. We will not stop until we end the abuse and get you the compensation you deserve.