What to Look Out for When Choosing a Nursing Home
Selecting a nursing home for yourself or an elderly loved one is a difficult decision. You must take many factors into account, including your budget, the location of the facility,and the needs of the senior citizen. Choosing the right nursing home will take time and research. One of the most important elements to consider is the possibility of nursing home neglect or abuse. Luckily, there are signs of abuse you can look out for when choosing your nursing home in Boston, Massachusetts, as well as steps you can take to reduce the risk of facility misconduct.
What Questions Should I Ask When Choosing a Nursing Home?
Start your search for the perfect nursing home by creating a list of the elderly person’s needs. Include your loved one’s mental and physical health status as well as his or her basic care needs. Look online or ask for referrals for facilities that can meet these needs in your desired city. Allow the senior to be a part of the decision, as it is his or her life that is changing. Then, visit a few of your top choices in person. Prepare a list of questions to ask the nursing home staff member who orchestrates your visit.
- What is the resident-to-staff-member ratio? Understaffing can lead to nursing home resident neglect. Most assisted living facilities have ratios of one staff member for every six to eight residents.
- What is the staff turnover rate? A low turnover rate can show that staff members are happy at the facility – a good sign for residents. A turnover rate of just a few months is generally not a good sign.
- What security measures are in place to prevent wandering off? The nursing home should have physical barriers to prevent residents with dementia from wandering off the premises. The facility should appear safe and free from property defects.
- Can the facility meet your unique needs? Ask how the nursing home would address your loved one’s unique health condition. How does the nursing home arrange medications and procedures? How does it handle emergencies?
In addition to obtaining answers to these questions, you should also perform a visual inspection of the nursing home while you are on a tour. Look for signs of potential neglect, abuse or property defects. These may include wet floors, dirty walls, low lighting, unkempt residents, injured residents, unhappy residents, and staff members yelling at residents or each other. Before deciding, drop in unexpectedly to see if the conditions are the same as when you made an official visit. Once you pick a nursing home, visit your loved one often to make sure the facility is treating him or her correctly.
What Is Considered Nursing Home Abuse?
A main concern families have when choosing a nursing home in Boston is the risk of abuse and neglect. Nursing home abuse is the crime of intentionally harming a nursing home resident physically, sexually, mentally and/or emotionally. It can refer to striking, kicking, slapping, pushing, cutting, burning or otherwise injuring a nursing home resident physically. It can also involve withholding food, neglecting a resident’s hygiene, isolating a resident, unnecessarily restraining a resident, yelling at residents or otherwise harming them psychologically. Nursing home abuse can also hurt a victim financially if it involves financial exploitation.
Your family may be able to avoid nursing home neglect and abuse by properly investigating the facility. Consult Boston’s Long Term Care Ombudsman program for surveyed facilities and nursing home performance scores. You can see the facility’s performance summaries, past complaints and any serious incidents. Visiting the site in person can help you see how the place operates, as well as the condition of its residents. Visit more than once to gauge the safety and cleanliness of the facility before making your choice. Speak to residents who already live at the nursing home, if possible, and search for reviews of the facility online. Making an informed decision about your loved one’s nursing home can reduce the risk of neglect and abuse.