Nursing Homes in Violation of Federal Laws Continue to be a Problem
Nursing home residents generally need constant care and attention. When families place their loved ones in a nursing home, they look for a facility that follows proper procedures for activities of daily living; provides reliable access to doctors and nurses; and generally provides safe and quality care. They rely on facility staff to watch the overall condition of the individual and ensure their needs are met.
Unfortunately, recent surveys have revealed that more than 30 percent of nursing homes in the United States have been cited for violations of federal standards. These violations are those that could cause harm to the residents of the nursing home.
Violations arise from situations where staff fail to protect residents from avoidable accidents, neglect, and mistreatment. For example, if staff members forget to turn a bedridden resident enough and this results in the resident developing bedsores, this is considered neglect.
Individuals and family members can take certain steps to prevent abuse and neglect. Before you commit your loved one to a facility, visit multiple facilities and talk to the administration and the staff to get an understanding of how the employees seem to feel about their jobs and where they work. Go online to the Nursing Home Compare section of the Medicare website and enter your area or the name of a facility to determine the quality of care for any medicare or Medicaid certified nursing home in the country. While these rankings are simply a guide, they will provide a baseline for you to make some decisions.
Another way to measure the quality of nursing homes is by talking to people in the community. Make a list of the facilities that are mentioned positively most often. It is likely people will have negative stories about most facilities; it is the nature of providing care. Take the stories into account and do not hesitate to ask a facility about the things you have heard.
Once a family has chosen a facility and moved their loved one in, be sure to visit regularly. It may seem obvious, but employees notice which residents have family visiting regularly who can hold them accountable to a high standard of care.
In addition to visiting regularly, family members should visit at different times and on different days. Making visits unexpected will give you a better understanding of how the different caregivers and nurses truly interact with your loved one and what methods your senior responds to better. If these methods are suggested or encouraged, this can lead to better care outcomes.
Do not hesitate to raise concerns about care issues or things that do not seem to be going well. Each resident is protected by the Nursing Home Bill of Rights, which makes it illegal for an individual to be subject to reprisals due to complaints.
If you or a loved one have experienced neglect at the hands of a nursing home and its staff, you could also contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney to make sure your rights, or the rights of your loved one, are protected and enforced.