The very last thing anyone wants to do is face the reality that a parent or other senior relative may no longer be able to care for themselves. You painstakingly assess all of your options to help them but whether it’s for financial reasons or logistics, you decide it’s time to research nursing homes or assisted living facilities. This can be quite stressful.
Not only may you feel guilty about having to explain to your relative that they have to leave a home they’ve always known, but you have the added anxiety over whether your loved one will be safe. After all, isn’t the entire point of moving someone into a nursing home that they will receive the proper care that will help extend his or her quality of life? Unfortunately, you know that nursing home neglect and abuse exists, and you want to do everything you can to avoid it.
Tips for choosing a safe nursing home
When researching and choosing a nursing home in the Charlotte area, keep the following in mind:
- Reviews. Check reviews online from as many independent sources as you can find. Often reviews can be found on social media or Google reviews. You may also see higher star ratings on websites geared toward steering you in the direction of a certain nursing home, but when you click on the link, no actual reviews will be available. These websites make money by gently guiding you to facilities who pay to advertise on their websites; often using stock photos of the nursing home to lure families in.
- Complaints. Check Medicare’s own website to see if you can locate complaints or positive reviews on nursing homes. You can compare up to three facilities side-by-side at a time to view information on health inspections, fire safety, staffing, quality of resident care, and penalties.
- Lack of information. Beware of nursing homes that do not have a website or any photos posted online of what real life may look like in their facility. While the individuals who are going to reside in a nursing home may not be incredibly internet savvy, someone in their family with input or decision-making authority should be. Those are the people who want to see what they may be getting their relative into – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
- Visit and call. Call or visit the nursing home on a weekend and during the week to see what interactions with staff are like. Weekend staff and weekday staff are typically different – sometimes part-time employees are just there to do the bare minimum for a paycheck and that may signal a different level of care being provided. It’s also why Medicare started ordering more weekend inspections of nursing homes and care facilities.
- Inspect. If you get past everything else, and think you have comfortably formed your short list of prospective facilities, go check the nursing homes out in person for cleanliness and to see their care firsthand. Again, make visits both during the week and on a weekend to get a feel for whether you see any difference in the behavior of residents and staff, cleanliness, treatment of residents. Also, ask to take a look around during mealtime to see if the food looks up to par. When you make your weekday visit, ask to speak with administrators to get the questions found on your checklist answered, and to see if they are easily accessible.
- Trust. Listen to your gut. If something feels off, don’t chance it just because the facility looks nice, or the staff seems overly friendly or caring. Nursing homes make money by filling beds and they don’t fill beds by appearing blatantly abusive. If finances are a sticking point, speak with an attorney who can guide you to resources that may help open more doors for your family member. Regardless of anyone’s financial situation, nursing home neglect or abuse is never an acceptable excuse.
The Charlotte nursing home neglect attorneys at Warren & Kallianos, PLLC want you to know that when you have placed your trust in a nursing home or assisted living facility to take care of your family member, failure of the facility to live up to that responsibility is not an option we accept.
If you discover that your family member wasn’t receiving proper care and was injured as a result, you have a right to stand up for your loved one. Our law firm is passionate about protecting vulnerable adults who deserve to live out their lives in dignity. To schedule your free consultation in our Charlotte office, call 704-377-7777, or we invite you to reach out to us through our contact form.