It can be very difficult when a loved one ages to know how best to continue to care for him or her. Many people struggle with the choice of putting a parent or grandparent into a nursing home, fearing that they could become the victim of abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, such cases do happen, with elderly victims suffering at the hands of their supposed caregivers. For tips on what you can do to educate yourself about nursing homes and advice on how to help protect your loved ones, keep reading.
First things first, the problem of nursing home abuse and neglect is a serious one. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, 44 percent of nursing home residents report being abused and a staggering 95 percent say they’ve witnessed other residents being either abused or neglected. This kind of shameful treatment is shockingly widespread, though it should be noted, is not true across the board. There are plenty of kind and generous caregivers that sincerely want to help those they watch over. The trick is knowing what to look for (and what to look out for) when considering nursing homes.
Experts say the first thing that you should look for when visiting nursing homes is staffing levels. It is absolutely critical that a nursing home be well staffed. The vast majority of problems that can occur in a nursing home setting, including sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect and even malnourishment occur almost uniformly because of understaffing. If there are a sufficient number of caregivers, it becomes difficult for one person to ignore or abuse a resident, as others are around and actively monitoring the welfare of the residents. When nursing homes are short staffed, it’s the patients that suffer, with too many residents demanding too much time and resulting in too little care and attention on the part of employees.
Another thing to be mindful of when visiting a nursing home is the way that staff members interact with patients. Pay close attention to how the staff speaks to and handles the patients. Are they using their names? Do the staff members seem to know the patients or, given high turnover, are they strangers? The more close interaction you’re able to observe, the better sense you’ll have for what kind of facility the nursing home is and whether it is one you can entrust with the care of an elderly loved one.
A final piece of advice is to stay actively involved in your loved one’s care. All nursing homes host meetings between residents, their family members, and caregivers assigned to the resident’s team. Attend these as much as you are able. It’s important that the staff understand that you are actively involved and monitoring your loved one’s care and condition. Those with actively involved families are less likely to be the victims of abuse given that perpetrators understand the abuse is more likely to be uncovered.
If you have questions about a medical malpractice or nursing home matter, please contact the Mississippi personal injury attorneys and medical malpractice attorneys at Kilpatrick & Philley toll free at (601) 856-7800.