For families with an elderly loved one who needs care, nursing homes provide one option for providing adequate levels of support. Nursing homes are supposed to be safe environments where residents can get additional 24/7 care and medical attention their families may not be able to provide. However, for many families the decision is a difficult one.
It is especially difficult to make that decision when families worry about Hollywood nursing home abuse and negligence. Unfortunately, their worries are not unfounded. Some residents do suffer subpar care, abuse, or dangerous levels of neglect which can impact safety and dignity. When a nursing home is needed to provide levels of care not feasible with family caretakers, there are a few ways to select a care environment to reduce the risk of nursing home negligence:
- Do research. The government has a website comparing nursing homes, where you can read inspection reports and past infractions. Be sure to also look up news stories about nursing homes, so you can find out about any times the facilities may have been in the news for lawsuits or other problems.
- Talk to other families and to doctors. Making the decisions to place a family member in a nursing home is a daunting moment. Talk to your family doctor about the choice, which can help you evaluate your loved one’s needs. In addition, speak to families who have had loved ones recently stay at the nursing homes you are considering. They may have some insights into programs and life inside these homes.
- Get documents from the nursing home. Take a look at written polices, emergency plans, and more. Evaluate annual reports and other information created for insurance companies and investors—not just marketing materials for families. Do the nursing homes have generators and reasonable safety plans? What policies are in place to prevent dangerous offenders from becoming residents? How are complaints handled?
- Visit multiple times, especially on the weekends and in the evenings. Many nursing homes allow you to make scheduled visits, and these visits are usually guided tours during ideal conditions. Instead, try to arrange permission to drop by unannounced during busy times and times when conditions may not be fully staffed. Weekends, holidays, shift changes, and dinnertime can show you how efficiently the nursing home operates when they aren’t expecting visitors and can show you how the facility works when not at full staff. Be wary of any nursing home refusing or resisting drop-ins.
- Stay alert for details. When visiting potential nursing homes, look for any signs of poor clean-up or any hazards—such as slippery floors. Keep alert for any odors of urine or feces or any signs of residents with poor hair or nails, indicating possible negligence when it comes to hygiene. Take a look at the food served or try to stay for a meal to taste it yourself and glance around to see what residents are doing. Are they simply in hallways or in a designated area, or are they engaged in activities?
- Keep your relationship with your loved one strong. One of the best defenses against nursing home abuse and negligence is good communication. If a family member feels comfortable telling you about anything which troubles them, they may be more likely to report abuse or problems in the nursing home. Have a plan in place to have friends and family visit and communicate often so you can notice if anything seems amiss.
Even with the best precautions, families sometimes find themselves in a position where their loved one has suffered nursing home abuse and neglect. If this is the case with your family in South Florida, contact Flaxman Law Group at 1-866-352-9626 (1-866-FLAXMAN) to speak to a Hollywood nursing home abuse and neglect attorney. Your consultation is free and comes with no obligation.