Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

5 Questions to Ask When Considering a Nursing Home

By August 30, 2019 No Comments
Photo of a Nurse Helping a Senior Citizen in the Nursing Home

Choosing the best nursing home for your loved one can be a challenge. For those families who are considering a nursing home, these statistics from the National Institute on Aging could be helpful. As of 2015, there were 1.4 million elderly Americans in nursing homes. There are approximately 16,000 nursing homes across the nation, with about 1.8 million beds. With 10,000 Americans turning 65 every day, these numbers are expected to continue to grow.

Most nursing home residents are admitted with more than one physical or mental health condition. In fact, the vast majority have three or more medical conditions requiring care. Any nursing home you choose for your loved one should be able to accommodate their medical conditions and provide the necessary care required.

Consider the Following When Choosing a Nursing Home

You will first want to determine whether the location you are considering is realistic in terms of visits from friends and family members. Visits like these are important for the mental and physical health of your loved one. Next, you will want to know whether the facility has a realistic staffing ratio and how it is rated. The lower the ratio, the more likely it is that your loved one will receive more individualized care.

Additional important questions to ask when considering a nursing home, include:

  • How much time do nurses and staff members spend with residents on a daily basis? This is a critical component for obtaining the very best care for a loved one. You will also want to know what the staff turnover rate is. Stable staffing is usually a good sign. Consistency is also important for residents.
  • What services do you offer? It is important that your loved one has access to any necessary physical care, such as physical therapy for a fracture, or help managing supplemental oxygen. In addition to health care services, you will want to know what types of activities the nursing home offers and whether the facility offers special care for dementia patients. You should also ask about the types of food that are offered. You will want to know whether transportation is available, and how much time your loved one will be able to spend outside (if that is something important to him or her).
  • How do you prevent pressure sores and avoid infections? Those who are not very mobile must be moved at least every two hours in order to avoid the development of pressure sores. Infections in a nursing home, like drug-resistant staph infections or MRSA, remain a problem. You will want to ask about infection-control protocols in the facility. You also want to ask whether mood-altering medications (chemical restraints) are routinely used in the facility.
  • What if I run out of money? If your loved one is coming in as a private-pay resident, but you expect those resources to run out at some point in the future, then you need to know whether the facility accepts Medicaid. Unfortunately, involuntary nursing home evictions have been reported across the country, so you must look ahead to all possible situations, ensuring the nursing home you choose can work with those situations. 
  • Are the residents happy here? After you have completed your tour of the facility and directed questions at the nursing home director and staff, take the time to talk to residents. Ask them if they enjoy living at the facility, and if they could change one thing, what would that be. Ask about freedom of choice and how long it takes to receive assistance for critical needs. 

Contact Our Phoenix Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

Even if you have asked all of the right questions and finished your research, nursing home abuse can still occur. When this happens, it can be very beneficial to speak to an attorney. At Miller Weber Kory LLP, our Phoenix nursing home abuse lawyers can help you protect your loved one from further abuse and hold the negligent institution and caregivers accountable for their actions. Contact us today at (602) 648-4045 for a free initial consultation and review of your potential case.

Additional Reading:

Nursing Home Charged with Negligence After Extreme Heat Took Its Toll on Residents

Arizona Seniors More Vulnerable to Elder Abuse and Neglect