In the US alone, there are currently more than 1.5 million senior citizens receiving care in more than 17,000 nursing homes. Unfortunately, the safety of these residents cannot be guaranteed. Between 1999 and 2001 nursing home abuse and neglect was reported in 30 percent of all the nation’s nursing homes. That is roughly 9,000 abuse reports in a span of two years. Shocking, to say the least.
Elder abuse and neglect has become an increasing problem in this country, with some studies showing that the problem is growing exponentially every year. The senior and disabled residents staying in nursing homes are largely unable to defend themselves against the verbal, physical, and emotional abuse that plagues them. This is why it is important for family members to carefully inspect a nursing home before committing their loved ones to live there. The following are some ways that you can vet a prospective nursing home:
Visit the Nursing Home: Do not trust brochures, websites, or quick tours to give you a full and accurate picture of the facility. Visit the facility at different times of day. Compare your morning visit to your evening visit. See if the energy level of the staff and residents is noticeably different. Keep an eye on hygiene. Is the place dirty? Is there an odor?
Speak with Residents: When making sure a nursing home is safe for a loved one, the best people to ask are current residents. Do they seem content or depressed? Do they have positive things to say about the home? While talking with them, take a close look: Are they well groomed; meaning do they have good skin care, oral care? If you can, speak with family members of residents. See if they have any concerns or comments.
Find Out About Staffing Levels: One of the leading causes of nursing home abuse and neglect is understaffing. Many employees who abuse residents do not take pleasure from it; some are overworked, frustrated, poorly paid, and poorly trained. Their stress causes them to act out. If the staff at your prospective nursing home seems burnt out or overwhelmed with their duties, you may want to keep looking.
Elder abuse in nursing homes is a serious problem. If you are considering placing your loved one in a facility, we advise that you take your time and carefully make your decision. For more information on nursing home abuse and how to identify it, read some of the other articles on the Carpey Law website.