Making the Hard Choices: Picking the Nursing Home or Long-term Care Facility
If your parent, a spouse or a grandparent has had an illness or injury that has left that person unable to be independent, you may be facing very difficult questions. What now? Perhaps you want to care for your loved one at home, but logistically it is impossible. What should you consider when picking an appropriate environment for an elderly relative needing care?
Doing your homework
According to a study by Families for Better Care, Florida’s nursing homes lead the southeast in long-term care facilities in their number of direct care staffing hours. Even so, Floridians need to do some homework before picking the right facility. One way to make a search is by using Medicare’s nursing home comparison. This website gives you basic information about safety and quality. You should always visit any facility you are considering. Ask around for recommendations, but remember that individual anecdotes may not give a complete picture.
Why be careful? Aren’t all facilities the same?
Do your research. Google the facility, and check with the Better Business Bureau before making a commitment. Why? Because a lot of abuse goes underreported and unnoticed. If you feel uncomfortable when you visit — if the facility doesn’t seem clean, it probably isn’t. Try to visit during meal times to see if meals look appetizing. Remember, some residents may be on strict diets, so don’t expect flashy meals. Does the food look fresh and smell good? Ask about options between meals. Is fresh fruit available or crackers and cheese for midday snacks? Remember to ask about physical exercise opportunities, how often to residents get fresh air and find out what options are offered on a rainy day.
Know the risks
One of the reasons you need to be vigilant is to avoid mistreatment and negligence. Sometimes abuse can be subtle, so it is important to understand elder abuse can occur even in the fanciest facilities. Elder abuse includes deliberate acts but can include less easily detectable incidents when caregiver fails to give basic care. Negligence in nursing homes may include:
- Evidence of falls (bruises, limping)
- Dehydration and malnutrition
- Medication errors
- Emotional neglect
If you suspect neglect
If you are seeking a new environment after your relative has been mistreated, contact an assertive attorney who can address your family’s needs. Gillette Law, P.A. knows Florida’s injury law and how it affects your family.