Nursing home abuse is unpredictable. However, if your loved one needs nursing home care, then you want to have some questions answered before you decide on a facility.
Eight Things to Look Into
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) lists eight facility criteria that are relevant to risk prevention in nursing homes. Based on the information provided by NCEA, it might be helpful to inquire about or observe:
- The nursing home’s abuse prevention policy. Abuse may be more likely to occur and to go unreported in nursing homes that lack formal policies.
- Staff training. Training should be on-going and provided by qualified instructors.
- How staff are screened before they are hired. Some nursing homes may be in a hurry to fill vacant positions. However, it is still important to do proper background checks before hiring staff.
- Whether staff seemed stressed or burned out. This may best be accomplished on a visit to the nursing home. Pay attention not only to the person showing you around, but also to the attitude and demeanor of others.
- Staff ratio and turnover. A stable workforce may be safer than a staff that is consistently changing.
- History of complaints. There may be a trend in the complaints that is concerning.
- The culture of the nursing home. This is something that you may need to observe. How do staff members talk to residents? How do residents feel about staff members? Are managers present and active?
- The physical appearance of the nursing home. Is it bright and cheery or run down and outdated? Staff that take pride in the nursing home and management that puts money into the facility may be important.
Additionally, you should ask about any specific concerns that you notice on a facility visit and any unique concerns that you have based on your loved one’s physical or mental condition.
Understand There Are No Guarantees
The nursing home may not have any of the risk factors listed above and there may still be a nursing home worker who is negligent or abusive. It may still be your loved one who is hurt.
Do not blame yourself for your loved one’s injury. You could not have stopped it, but you can take action now to help protect your loved one and prevent others from being hurt. Now, you can report the abuse, move your loved one, and make sure that her rights are protected.