Family members of an elderly loved one shoulder a lot of responsibilities if the need for nursing home care arises. First, they are tasked with the burden of selecting the right facility to care for a loved one. Then, because nursing homes can’t always be trusted to do the right thing, they also need to play the role of watchdog to ensure the resident gets the proper care they deserve. One of the best ways to do this is know what abuse and neglect look like, trust your instincts, and speak up immediately.
How to Monitor Nursing Homes and Care
There is no substitute for first-hand observation, but there are other ways to hold nursing homes accountable and prevent even abuse and neglect that present no visible symptoms.
Visit as Much as Possible
Visiting regularly is the best way to watch for signs of mistreatment and help ensure your loved one is treated well. When you visit, find out how much autonomy they have. For example:
- Can they choose their bedtime?
- Do they get a choice of food?
- Are there different activities they can choose to participate in each day?
Changing up the days and times of your visit can help you get a sense of their daily life experiences. Seeing a variety of different staff members and caregiving situations will help you see inconsistencies in your loved one’s care.
Observe staff and staff/resident interactions
When visiting, observe the staff and watch for red flags. Watch behavior of the staff while there. It’s a red flag if you can’t satisfactorily answer topics for yourself after a visit such as:
- Does the staff seem competent?
- Are hands washed regularly?
- Is there a plan for infection prevention? Is it reviewed annually?
- Does the staff recognize your loved one by name?
- Do the staff and residents respect each other?
- Are the staff attentive and respond quickly when needed?
Look for Signs of Neglect and Abuse
There are many obvious signs of abuse – cuts, burns, bruises, and broken bones. Some symptoms of abuse and neglect, though, are much more understated. Behavior, personality, and mood change, making up implausible stories to explain injuries, fear around an abusive staff member, and unexplained weight loss are all possible indicators they are being mistreated.
Look up the Nursing Home’s Online Ratings
Medicare has created a Nursing Home Compare website that allows the public to look up nursing home facilities. Most facilities nationwide are listed and rated in a variety of categories. There is a symbol that indicates a report of abuse within the past year. Additionally, federal law requires all facilities to make copies of inspection reports available for the past three years if you have further questions or want additional information.
Speak to a San Diego Nursing Home Lawyer
Your loved one deserves optimal care; part of that falls on you researching, being vigilant, and speaking up over any concerns. If family member was injured at their nursing home, contact the skilled San Diego nursing home attorneys at Walton Law, APC today. Our attorneys have years of experience providing compassionate, personalized representation for clients like you and recovered millions in damages. Contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (866) 338-7079 or complete our Contact Us page to schedule a free initial case evaluation today. We’re here to answer your questions, discuss your options, and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.