Unfortunately, all nursing homes are not the same, and numerous cases of nursing home neglect and abuse continue to be reported.  When a loved one resides in a nursing homes, family members must closely monitor the nursing home to insure that appropriate care is being provided.

There are several steps family members can take to help prevent nursing home neglect and abuse.

Medical Care

  • Make sure that the nursing home allows a resident to continue care with her personal physicians and dentist.  If a family member is not available to transport the resident to medical and dental appointments, the family must confirm that the nursing home will provide transportation.
  • Confirm that the nursing home has preventative care program to maintain resident health.  Dietitians to guarantee proper nutrition, and a medical staff trained to provide regular vaccinations — flu and pneumonia shots, for example.
  • Family members should attend regular care plan meetings and proactively ask questions.
    • Have there been any illnesses or injuries since our last meeting?
    • If so, what plan has been developed to address these injuries or illnesses?
    • Has the personal physician been informed of these injuries or illnesses?
    • What is being done to prevent further injury or illness?
  • Select a nursing home that is near a full service, reputable hospital — a hospital that has an emergency room.  This is important because falls and broken bones (particularly hips) and pressure ulcers are among the leading cases of injury and death for nursing home residents.

Staff

Perhaps nothing is more important than quality staff:

  • The family should confirm that the nursing home conducts background checks before hiring staff
  • Family members should observe continuity in care — are the same staff members providing daily care?  If there are high levels of turnover or absenteeism, that is a red flag.
  • Family members should be comfortable with staff–staff members should be friendly and respectful, and they should knock on a resident’s door before entering.
  • The family should be assured that a registered nurse is in the nursing home, and is responsive to medical needs, 24 hours a day.

If your loved one resides in a nursing home, and you suspect nursing home neglect or abuse, please contact us for further information.