Rosenbaum Injury Law Legal Minute – Nursing Homes

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What to Look for When Choosing a Nursing Home

Research shows that the quality of care one gets in a nursing home can greatly affect their health and happiness.

With the aging of the Baby Boomer generation there are not enough quality facilities to support everyone in need.

Below is an overview to help you find the right facility for your parent or loved one. It ultimately comes down to due diligence before, during and after you choose a home.

Rating Systems

There are agency and governmental departments that have created rating systems that can be a helpful starting point.

  • Nursing Home Compare. The centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provide nursing home ratings based on objective criteria that evaluate elements like health inspections and available staffing hours per resident.
  • U.S. News & World Report Ratings. The U.S. News & World report compiles rankings of evaluated facilities in Pennsylvania and other areas throughout the nation.

The Quantity and Quality of Staff

One of the biggest reasons for poor care is due to understaffing. Nursing homes that do not have proper amount of staff simply do not have enough time to provide the necessary care to every resident.

Ask about the staffing ratios. Find out how many patients they have and the number of nurses as well as nursing aids at the home. See if they have any written material explaining this. Although there are minimum requirements there is no guarantee the facility is following the regulations.

Visit the facility at a couple different times to get a true sense if there is enough staff present. If you don’t see many people that is a red flag.

Determining the quality of staff is a little more challenging until your loved one is in the facility and you have regular interaction with the staff. But when possible reach out to other residents or their family to get their opinion.

Also, lookout for how clean the facility is kept. If the floor is dirty or there is a bad odor that can be an indication of poor unsupervised staff.

Watch for Signs of Abuse or Neglect in Residents

These can include:

  • Bed Sores. Also called “pressure ulcers,” often occur when resident spends significant time in bed and is not re-positioned frequently, as required.
  • Infections. Elderly people typically do not have very strong immune systems and can be prone to infections. However, if the infections are recurring and lead to multiple hospitalizations this should be investigated.
  • Falls. Every patient admitted to a nursing home should be evaluated to determine if they are a fall risk. There are many precautionary measures that can help prevent falls such as a bed and/or chair alarms.

What to Do If You Suspect Abuse or Neglect

You should report the matter to the Directory of Nursing. You can also file a report with the PA Department of Health. You can also reach out our firm for a free consultation if your loved one suffers an injury or unnecessary medical complication while at a nursing home. For signs of nursing home abuse and neglect click here.

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