10 Red Flags You Should Never Ignore While Visiting a Nursing Home
Finding the perfect nursing home or long-term care facility is a challenging task. When visiting different facilities for a loved one, it is essential to look out for red flags or signs of possible negligence or abuse. If you notice while touring a nursing home that they have one or more of the red flags listed below, you may want to consider choosing a different facility.
1. The Facility Is Not Clean.
If the facility does not look clean, this could mean that they are understaffed or that they do not prioritize cleanliness. The common areas, restrooms, and bedrooms should always be clean and smell fresh. Unsanitary areas show laziness and employees that are inattentive to detail and employee integrity and care.
2. Residents Seem Unhappy.
When you are touring a nursing home, look at how the residents are already taken care of. Particularly, look at the resident’s condition. If residents are clean, well-groomed, and generally appear happy, this is a sign that care is good.
3. Staff Turnover is High.
Not only is the look of the residents critical, but also the look and amount of staff. Employees coming and going quickly is a red flag and could mean the nursing home has poor management or practices. This could also increase the likelihood of medical errors. Additionally, ask what the ratio of staff to residents is. An understaffed business will cause neglect to the individuals that need care. If there are many residents in the building but not many employees, that’s a huge issue.
4. Call Lights are Unanswered
A good indicator of care is by observing call lights outside or above the resident’s doors. In a long-term care facility, the call lights will inevitably be going off. If you can, pick one particular light and see how long it takes before it goes off and how long it takes for someone to assist the resident.
5.There Are No Abuse Prevention Policies.
Studies show that approximately 1 in 10 seniors, aged 60 and over, have faced some form of elder abuse. An ideal nursing home or long-term care facility should have abuse prevention programs in place. Additionally, the facility should have a complaint policy for residents or their families to let the staff know if something could be improved.
6. It Does Not Have Quality Food Services.
This requirement is often overlooked, but it’s essential to make sure your facility has options for all dietary needs. One of the essentials of care for the elderly is a proper diet. Yet, there are reports of poor nutritional care in nursing homes across the United States. Multiple underweight residents in a facility could be a sign of negligence. Please don’t hesitate to ask for a meal calendar, and ask the staff how and where they prepare meals.
7. The Facility is Very Loud
High noise volumes and sudden loud noises can aggravate the elderly, especially ones suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. When you take a tour through a facility, don’t just look, but listen too. Many facilities use different methods of cutting down sound. Usually, higher-functioning organizations tend to be much calmer and not as chaotic.
8. It Does Not Provide Activities Or Opportunities To Socialize.
Facilities should have some opportunity for the residents to interact with others. If the facility does not provide opportunities for the residents to be social, then they most likely are not concerned with the well-being of the residents. Another one of the most common nursing home red flags is scheduled activities. Most nursing homes have multiple monthly and weekly planned activities for the residents to enjoy. Activities should include outings, games on-site, lessons, arts and crafts, church services, or any other activities. These activities will ensure that your loved ones are kept active and exercise their bodies and minds. Don’t forget to make sure the facility’s activities are of interest to the person staying there.
9. It Does Not Have A Good Visiting Policy.
If a facility does not have a flexible visiting policy, it could sign that it is understaffed. This is something most people will overlook entirely. Does the home allow unannounced, unscheduled visits? If not, that’s a HUGE red flag. You should have full freedom to see your family member or loved ones as you please. Of course, there are times this is inappropriate; you should not be expecting to be able to walk right into the building at 3 am. You should expect permission to be able to come in as you please during regular business hours.
10. Administrators Are Inattentive
The administrator is busy, so they may not be as involved in day-to-day proceedings as regular staff members. That’s fine. But administrators should not be completely disconnected from the residents. They need to take an active role, get to know the residents and work hard to make the living situation the best possible.
Families Have The Right to Expect Quality Care.
At the Goss Law Firm, we understand that abuse of our loved ones is an abuse of our trust. We know how devastating nursing home abuse is and how upset, angry, and violated you feel. Your loved one is vulnerable, and we want to give a voice to the voiceless. Our skilled, dedicated attorneys will review your situation’s details and help you find the answers you need. Contact our office today at 816-839-6452 to schedule a free, no-risk legal consultation.