8 Red Flags To Look For When Choosing A Nursing Home For A Family Member : Sometimes it’s challenging to juggle all your responsibilities while caring for your loved ones. That’s why nursing homes exist. The standard of care provided at a nursing home must be high to ensure your loved ones thrive during their stay.
The many benefits of living at a nursing home include active socialization, balanced stimulation, healthcare, etc. However, there are many instances where nursing homes have inadequate facilities and don’t take proper care, and outright abuse their residents. Even after checking reviews, You need to be able to spot the signs that indicate whether a nursing home is good or not.
Do the residents respond and react?
If you notice residents are out and about but aren’t responsive, the cause may be that they were given antipsychotic medication without a condition that requires it. The drug suppresses psychotic symptoms like hallucinations, incoherent speech, and delusions, but giving them to a person who doesn’t need such drugs would induce sedation.
Since the pandemic, there have been increased prescriptions for antipsychotic drugs in assisted living facilities. If the nursing home gives out this drug, they are understaffed, don’t care about giving appropriate care, and wish to interact with residents as little as possible. An attitude like this leads to mistreatment and even the death of residents. It is well within your rights to look into suing a nursing home for wrongful death if such a misfortune occurs. Spotting such signs may be tricky, but the effort is worth it if your loved ones receive the care they deserve.
Are there a lot of COVID cases in staff and patients?
Everyone needs to take precautions in regards to the pandemic. Anyone who doesn’t take it seriously increases the risk of spreading the virus to others. Finding out how many people have been infected in the nursing home should show how seriously they take infectious diseases. At this point, all healthcare professionals should be vaccinated.
When you connect with a potential nursing home, ask them how much of their staff is vaccinated, how many residents and staff members have been infected or died from COVID, and how long their center was on lockdown. Although the nursing home staff isn’t required to answer these questions, their response would tell you something about their experience, and it would be more fruitful to ask frontline employees instead of the management about these things.
See if there’s a low retention rate in management
Working at a nursing home is quite challenging, and it takes a lot of effort and mental strength to work there. Many people resign after some time, resulting in a higher turnover rate than most jobs. A high turnover rate affects the quality of care provided at nursing homes because the staff is constantly changing. It takes time to train staff to bathe, clean, feed, etc., patients who may get confused and resistive.
Few or no morning activities
Physical movement is imperative for nursing home residents. You can check if a nursing home places importance on morning activity by visiting them during the early hours. Take a look around at how many residents are out of their beds after 11 AM, and this should give you a good idea of the nursing home staff’s priorities. It also tells you if there’s a staff shortage to cater to each resident. If the staff can’t take residents out for morning exercise and other activities, chances are they can’t provide enough care to dress, clean, and feed each individual.
The response time is too long
Nursing home residents are high maintenance and require their needs to be met quickly. You should see if the response time is short or not. Try to notice how long it takes for someone to respond when a resident calls out or presses the call button. Do you see a line of residents in wheelchairs waiting for someone to see them? These are signs of a staff shortage and residents not being able to meet all their needs. There isn’t a set staff to resident ratio, so you should check out potential nursing homes in-person to evaluate staff.
Smell and unclean rooms
Most elderly citizens and nursing home residents experience urinary incontinence, so it’s normal to smell a faint urine odor. However, if the nursing home reeks, the staff isn’t prompt in cleaning the residents and the space where they soiled themselves. Take a look inside one of the rooms if you can. If you see filled-up trashcans, items lying around haphazardly, old food strays that haven’t been removed, etc., no staff member has noticed or overlooked the state of affairs.
According to a leading health expert, discerning the standard of direct care to a resident is difficult because the required care differs for each facility and resident. Another reason could be the facility being understaffed, so people should see nursing homes in person before deciding.
Do you find the staff discourteous?
The behavior and demeanor of nursing home employees are very telling about the interactions residents experience in their care. Are staff members nonchalant about interacting with residents? Do they know their names and respond quickly? The way residents interact with and speak of the staff shouldn’t be disregarded. While you might place less weight on their opinions because they are unwell and may not see reality the way the rest of us do, you should observe if they respect the staff and vice versa.
In many instances, there’s a generation gap between caretaker and resident, and one party is offended when referred to with specific terms that the other party thinks are fine. The bottom line is that regardless of what happens, staff should be respectful at all times, and if there’s a need to chastise a resident, they should do so gently.
Unhealthy and meals
Food and nutrition are essential in assisted living spaces, and each resident has needs that must be met. If the food quality is inadequate, it raises the risk of slower recovery or worsening health. They should prepare food in sanitary conditions, serve healthy meals that meet all the residents’ nutritional requirements, and not include anything they aren’t supposed to eat.
There are many ways to filter out nursing homes for your loved ones. Pay an in-person visit to the facility and observe the behavior of staff and residents. See if the staff is respectful and caters to residents’ needs and if residents are responsive and are made to do activities. You should check for the home’s cleanliness and if meals are nutritious.
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