How to Select a Nursing Home: Reducing the Risk of Negligence
Selecting a nursing home for a loved one can be a daunting task. The need to ensure their safety, well-being, and happiness weighs heavily on families. An unfortunate reality is that some nursing homes are better than others, and there have been cases of negligence leading to adverse outcomes. With this guide, brought to you by Sugarman Law, we will help you navigate the nursing home selection process so you can make the best decision for your loved one.
Research and Reviews: Finding the Ideal Nursing Home
Start with Personal Recommendations
- Word of Mouth: Begin your search by asking close friends, family members, and medical professionals you trust for their personal recommendations. Their firsthand experiences can provide invaluable insights that online reviews might miss.
Explore Online Resources
- Industry Websites: Platforms like Healthgrades, Senior Advisor, and Caring.com offer ratings and reviews for various nursing homes. These websites compile both expert assessments and personal experiences.
- Government Databases: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services provides a Nursing Home Compare tool that showcases quality ratings for each Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing home.
- Local Community Boards: Websites such as Nextdoor or local Facebook groups can sometimes have discussions or reviews about local nursing homes.
Licensing and Certification: Ensuring Quality and Safety
Ensure the nursing home is appropriately licensed and certified by the state and other relevant entities. A certified facility indicates adherence to stringent safety and health guidelines.
- State Agencies: Every state has a department or agency responsible for licensing and inspecting nursing homes. Their databases often provide valuable information regarding past inspections, violations, and certifications.
- Professional Accreditations: Some nursing homes may also be accredited by professional organizations, which can be an additional stamp of quality.
Investigating Violation Records: Understanding Past Issues
It’s crucial to research any potential past violations or complaints related to the nursing home. State departments of health usually maintain these records.
- Frequency and Severity: Pay attention not just to the number of violations but also their severity. A minor infraction might be excusable, but a history of significant neglect or abuse should be taken very seriously.
- Resolution: How did the facility address past violations? Prompt and effective corrective action can be a good sign.
Read Reviews with a Critical Eye: Discerning the Truth
Online reviews are invaluable, but they should be read with a discerning mind.
- Balanced Perspective: Every institution might have a few negative reviews. Look for patterns in feedback. If multiple reviews mention the same issue, it might be a consistent problem.
- Recent Reviews: Focus on the latest reviews as they give a current picture of the facility. Older negative reviews might relate to issues that have since been addressed.
Local News Outlets: Additional Insight
- Sometimes, local news outlets might cover stories related to nursing homes, either due to exceptional care or, unfortunately, negligence. A quick search can reveal any relevant news associated with the facility.
Questions to Ask During Your Visit: A Comprehensive Checklist
Conducting a physical tour of potential nursing homes is critical. Here are some crucial questions to ask during your visit:
- Licensing: Is the facility state-licensed and accredited by any professional organizations?
- Duration: How long has this nursing home been operating?
- Types of Rooms: Are there both private and shared rooms? Can residents bring personal items or furniture?
Staff and Care
- Staff-to-Resident Ratio: How many staff members are allocated per resident during the day and night?
- Staff Qualifications: What qualifications do the nurses, caregivers, and other staff members hold? How often do they receive training?
- Turnover: What’s the turnover rate for staff? High turnover can indicate potential issues.
Medical and Health Care
- Medical Services: What kind of medical services do you provide? How are medical emergencies addressed?
- Specialist Care: Do you offer care for specific conditions, such as dementia or Parkinson’s?
- Medication Management: How do you manage and monitor residents’ medications?
Activities and Lifestyle
- Activities Calendar: Can I see a current activities calendar? How often is it updated?
- Outdoor Access: How often do residents get to go outside? Is there a garden or outdoor recreational area?
- Meals: What kind of meals are provided? Are special dietary needs accommodated?
Policies and Procedures
- Communication: How will the facility communicate with families about a resident’s well-being or any incidents?
- Visiting Hours: What are the visiting hours and policies?
- Safety and Security: What measures are in place to ensure residents’ safety?
Financial and Contractual
- Pricing: How is the pricing structured? Are there additional costs for certain services?
- Insurance: What types of insurance do you accept?
- Contract Review: Can I get a copy of the resident agreement or contract to review?
- Resident Feedback: Is there a way to gather feedback or concerns from current residents?
- Counseling & Support: Do you provide counseling or support groups for residents and their families?
Red Flags to Avoid: Warning Signs
- Overmedication: If residents seem excessively drowsy or “out of it,” it could be a sign of overmedication, which can be a method of controlling residents.
- High Staff Turnover: Frequent changes in staff can indicate internal issues and might affect the continuity of care.
- Unpleasant Odors: Persistent bad smells can indicate cleanliness problems.
- Lack of Resident Interaction: If residents are consistently in their rooms without interaction, it might be a sign of neglect.
- Negative Reviews: While a few negative reviews are typical, consistent complaints or severe allegations should be taken seriously.
Contact an Experienced Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer at Sugarman Law for a Free Consultation About Your Case Today
Selecting a nursing home is a significant decision that requires diligent research and attention to detail. Always trust your instincts. If something feels off, continue your search elsewhere. Your loved one deserves the highest level of care and respect.
If you suspect negligence or have legal concerns regarding nursing homes, reach out to us at Sugarman Law. With our experience in the field, we’re here to guide and support you.
Choose wisely. Choose with confidence. Remember, your family’s well-being is paramount. Contact Sugarman Law today for assistance.