Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Serving Kentucky Residents
Deciding to put a loved one in a nursing home is a big decision and not one you came to lightly. Once you recognize that the need for a nursing home exists, the next step is to pick one that will take care of your loved one and keep up their quality of life.
To ensure you pick the right nursing home there are a few steps to take. While time-consuming, it will give you the extra peace of mind you need to leave your loved one in the care of someone else.
How to Pick the Right Nursing Home in Louisville
You want a home for your loved one that lets them keep their dignity, engage in social activities, and makes them happy. The more home-like a nursing home is, the better too. Nursing homes should not be a sterile hospital-like environment. Instead, your loved one should feel happy to be there – and you should feel confident with the services they receive too.
Research the Beneficiary and Family Centered Care Quality Improvement Organization (BFCC-QIQ)
Your local Beneficiary and Family Centered Care Quality Improvement Organization has data on complaints and violations for nursing homes in the area. You can find a list of complaints ranging from drug errors to inappropriate treatment, specialist access, conditions, and health plans. You can also research through an Ombudsman, via the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center. Every state has an ombudsman, and they can help you locate nursing homes in the area with positive track records and make sure the home you choose does not have any outstanding violations or pending cases.
The Types of Nursing Homes
You have a few out-of-home care options for your loved one. Sometimes, the term “nursing home” is used to describe a broad range of care facilities. Therefore, make sure you are picking the right one based on your loved one’s needs.
- Independent Living Facility – These are for seniors who can still take care of themselves and want a community of peers for moral and emotional support. These are apartment-style communities, and there are age restrictions for when you can enter.
- Assisted Living – Assisted living still gives seniors some independence, but also with a little extra care. They are designed for those who still need assistance with everyday activities, such as medications, meals, or physical support. Some facilities offer services for specific disorders, like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Skilled Nursing – Skilled nursing facilities are institutions that must be accredited to receive Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement. They are medical and rehabilitative centers with nurses on-staff to assist patients and doctors creating treatment plans.
- Continuous Care Retirement – These communities have all types of care levels on the campus, including everything from independent living to skilled nursing. That way, a resident can progress if need be without having to leave their community.
Inspect Food and Nutritional Services
Inspect the food and menu plans for your loved one. Ask about any special nutrition programs and if they create a nutritional plan for the unique needs of each resident. Also, if your loved one has food allergies or special nutrition needs, such as being diabetic, can that facility accommodate those?
Let Your Nose Do Some Investigating Too
Nursing homes should never smell bad. It should smell clean, residents should be bathed, and if you notice any questionable smells, you may want to visit another time to see if those smells are gone or consider a new facility entirely.
Visit More than Once – and Different Times
Visiting once means that you could have come when the facility was prepared for your visit. Make sure you visit that nursing home multiple times, and at different times of the day. If you visit on a Monday afternoon, come back on a Wednesday morning and see if everything’s the same.
Look at the Numbers
- How many licensed nurses are on-duty for each shift and how many are LPNs versus RNs?
- How many staff members are there per patient? How many nurses are on staff to each patient?
- Are there in-house counselors available for residents?
- Are there doctors on-staff or on-site?
- Is there a transportation service or does the nursing home contract out?
- How many beds are at the nursing home, and how many beds per room?
- How many residents are currently in the nursing home and how many more residents can the nursing home take before reaching capacity?
These numbers tell you how much attention your loved one will get, but also how often this nursing home packs their residency to the maximum capacity. Avoid nursing homes that are close to maximum capacity or that have too many residents per aides, because that means your loved one could be waiting hours for attention.
The Quality of Life
Nursing homes are not just there to keep your loved one nourished and hydrated. They are a form of social interaction and are supposed to improve the quality of life of your loved one. Therefore, some things you should look for to ensure a high quality of life include:
- If the resident’s rights are posted in a community room.
- If family and friends can easily visit the nursing home.
- How often residents can go outside.
- What weekly or daily activities are offered to encourage exercise and socialization.
- How many decisions residents can make on their own: for example when they want to bathe, eat, or even go to bed.
- If the doors are shut when the residents shower – ensuring they receive some privacy.
- Whether residents can bring along personal items, including furniture or decorations.
- If the rooms have a home-like environment or feel more like a facility.
- How considerate, friendly, and helpful the caretakers are in the facility.
Hold Nursing Homes to Higher Standards
Even with all the research and due diligence, if a nursing home hurts your loved one you can hold them accountable. Not only will it help offset the costs of your loved one’s medical bills, but it will ensure that other residents are not harmed by unsafe practices or abusing caretakers.
Meet with attorney Seth Gladstein at Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC now to discuss your loved one’s injuries. Schedule your consultation at 502-791-9000 or request more information online.