When the time comes that you have to place a parent or other loved one into a nursing home, the guilt and worry can be tremendous. The elderly are frail and vulnerable, and you may feel anxious about the care they will receive. Struggling with a decision to place your loved one in a nursing home is normal, but understanding a few key things can help you feel more in control of the decision.
image src: flickr
Stay Part of the Team
You've made the difficult decision that trained, professional caregivers would be better at dealing with your loved one. It's important to continue to be a part of the team providing care, and for you to continue to advocate for your loved one's rights and needs.
Choose the Facility Wisely
Be careful when choosing a nursing home facility. Visit different facilities at different times of day and look for the following things:
- A licensed facility
- Recent inspection results
- A low caregiver-to-patient ratio
- A cheerful, clean and safe environment
- Kind, compassionate treatment from staff
- Physicians and physical therapists readily available
- Residents engaged in activities rather than sitting idly in the hallways
Even with all these things in place, abuse can happen. All you can do is carefully and watch for signs of abuse or neglect.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Nursing home abuse and neglect are all too common, even in the best facilities. A bad staff member, understaffing, or poor training and supervision can lead to horrific situations for elderly, helpless residents. Abuse comes in many forms, including medication errors, slip and fall injuries, physical assault, and various forms of nursing home neglect.
Neglect can take the form of physical neglect, neglect of the patient's personal hygiene, lack of a safe, clean environment, and malnutrition and dehydration. In addition, patients medical needs can be neglected, including allowing bedsores to form, failing to give proper medication, and failing to provide physical therapy and exercise. Emotional neglect can be another problem. Lack of friendly communication from staff can lead to isolation and depression.
If Your Loved One is Abused in a Nursing Home
It can be difficult to get an accurate sense of what's going on in a care facility. Your loved one may be unable or unwilling to tell you the truth about their living conditions. But if you believe abuse or neglect is taking place, try to communicate your concerns to the staff and management. Keep in mind that all forms of nursing home neglect are unacceptable. If you are not satisfied with the response you receive, consider removing your loved one from the facility and taking legal action.
The next step is to hire a local lawyer who is experienced in nursing home abuse to protect your loved one's well-being and legal rights. Hiring a local attorney will ensure that they will be up to date on local and state laws regarding nursing home and medical malpractice laws. A good way to find a local one is by doing an online search by inputting what you are looking for. For example, google 'best medical malpractice lawyers in Virginia' and a list of attorneys that are experienced in medical malpractice with good online reviews located in that state can be obtained. An experienced nursing home attorney can advocate for you, negotiate a settlement or take your case to trial.
You shouldn't have to worry about placing your loved one into a care facility. By keeping your eyes and ears open, and turning to an experienced legal professional for help when needed, you can rest assured you're doing all you can to protect your loved one in a nursing home facility.
Lisa Coleman understands the difficulty a person can face when the time has come to make a life altering decision about possible nursing home care for our elderly loved ones. She expresses ways to find a quality home for their care. She recently read online about how some of the best medical malpractice lawyers in Virginia could legally represent and counsel a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect within the state of Virginia.