What to Look For?
Do your research. When you’re considering placing your loved one in a nursing home, look for as much background information as you can find. Are there reports of abuse or neglect? Has the nursing home earned generally positive reviews? Sometimes, nursing homes are good at putting on a positive face, but the real experiences of families tell a different story.
Pay attention to the staff. When you visit the nursing home, take a close look at the people working there. Do they seem rested or exhausted? Are there enough of them, or are they spread thin? Understaffing is a factor in the strong majority of abuse and neglect cases, so you want to make sure they’re staffed adequately.
Look at the premises. Does the nursing home seem safe and secure? Is it well lit? Are the walkways clear? How is the overall cleanliness of the facility? Are there strange odors? If there are trip hazards or clutter in the walkways, that’s a serious red flag. If the staff members aren’t taking care of their workplace, then they may not be taking good care of the residents, either.
Interview administrators. Nursing home administrators should be happy to meet with the families of prospective residents. Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions about their routines, policies, and how they handle claims of abuse and neglect. Pay attention to how they work as well – are the managers on the floor interacting with residents, or are they sequestered in their offices while entry-level staff do all of the work?
Stay involved. Sometimes, it’s not immediately clear that a nursing home is problematic. Staying involved in your loved one’s care beyond the initial placement is critical. Go to their treatment meetings. Visit as often as you can, ideally on different days and at different times if your schedule allows. Be prepared to make a change if there are signs of trouble.