Dangers of Nursing Homes: Don’t Believe Their Websites
We all know that not everything you read on the internet is true, but when it comes to the website for a company or business, we have a tendency to accept what we see as factual.
Nursing homes can advertise that they have impressive safety records and ratings, and can speak in glowing terms about their staff, but that information may be misleading—or even false. The real truth can be far darker, and dangerous for your family member.
If you are considering placing a loved one into a long-term care facility like a nursing home, it is important to do your own research on the facility, including conducting an in-person visit, to verify that all their positive, glowing statements online are backed up by in-person reality.
BAD NURSING HOMES
What does it mean when a nursing home is “bad?” What constitutes mistreatment or improper care? Sometimes, determining what is really going on at a facility can take time to discover and be difficult to document. Problems like bedsores on patients can be explained away with assurances that the resident is now receiving good care, and characterizing the mistreatment as a one-time, individual case, when the pattern is broader, more serious and more widespread. Other problems can be more obvious, such as hazards or dangers within the physical facility that are not repaired or addressed, or clear, dangerous signs of improper patient care and neglect.
This is a serious matter. Improper care by nursing home facilities and neglectful treatment of their residents can lead to serious, chronic health problems and severely inhibit recovery and a continued comfortable life. They can even lead to death at a facility.
Bad nursing homes generally have two categories: Facility problems and patient-care problems. More often than not, if there is a problem in one of these areas, there is a problem in the other as well. Few facilities have sparkling clean, well-working facilities free of bugs, signs of rodents, or are in disrepair but give 100% excellent care to the patients, 24/7. Signs of problems in one area can typically mean problems in other areas, so it is important to do a thorough evaluation of a facility before you place a loved one there.
If your loved one has already been placed in a nursing home, you should still evaluate it fully. If you suspect or see problems, you can transfer your loved one to another facility.
HOW TO EVALUATE A LONG-TERM CARE FACILITY
This website is a great starting point for your research. It can be sorted by state, number of infractions and the amount of fines a facility has received.
Every nursing home patient has rights. The degree to which those rights are respected and followed is, in essence, the standard of care.
Here are just a few questions to ask and areas to evaluate during a visit to a nursing home:
- If needed, are they a skilled nursing facility wherein my loved one can get specialized care for rehabilitation, dementia, or other specialized treatment options?
- Are they certified by Medicaid and Medicare?
- Do the current residents appear to be appropriately dressed for the time of day or season?
- Is the facility clean and well-kept, with no obvious signs of disrepair?
- Evaluate the furnishings, lighting, noise levels. Take note of strong odors.
- Do staff members seem respectful and polite toward patients?
- What kind of background checks does the facility do on staff members?
- What days and times is a licensed nurse (RN) available?
- What is the rate of turnover of administrative staff?
- In rooms, are grab bars and hand rails in good working order?
- How are special dietary needs handled?
- What activities are available, and do the residents participate in planning those activities?
- Is there access to the outside, and how is that handled?
- Is there preventive care available or included, such as annual flu shots and vision and hearing screenings?
WHAT TO DO ABOUT A BAD NURSING HOME
If you suspect your family member is being neglected or mistreated in a nursing home, or the facility has not taken steps to curb dangerous or hazardous conditions you have observed when you visit your loved one in the facility, you need to step in. Reporting the facility to state agencies is important, but you must also move to protect your loved one immediately to make sure they are properly cared for.
If your loved one has been resident in a facility and suffered harm as a result of neglect, deliberate or unintentional harm, or has been exposed to harm, you may be entitled to compensation. The Law Office of Jeff Green has experience representing the interests of patients in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities and is experienced with the law. We can help you file a formal complaint about the facility and seek justice for your loved one. Contact us today for a free consultation.