Choosing a Nursing Home

According to the 2010 Census, there are 40.3 million people living in the U.S. who are age 65 or older. This represents 13% of the U.S. population. By 2050, this number will increase to 20%. As seniors age, the nursing home population will continue to swell.

Overall health and wellness, personal safety, and security are essential considerations to make when evaluating a nursing home for your loved one. Choosing a nursing home that gives your family member or loved one sufficient and appropriate personal and medical attention is necessary in order to protect your loved one against nursing home abuse, injury, or illness.

According to studies cited by the National Center on Elder Abuse, 7.6% – 10% of study participants had experienced nursing home abuse in the prior year. Unfortunately, data from state agencies that provide nursing home oversight shows an increasing trend in the reporting of elder abuse.

Safeguards can be taken when choosing a nursing home to minimize the risk of nursing home abuse and ensure that your loved one thrives in the long-term care facility. Following a few simple steps as outlined below can streamline the entire process.

Identify nursing home facilities in your area.

Ask relatives, friends, neighbors, and religious leaders to refer you to a nursing home they know and trust. Your loved one’s personal physician can also be of assistance—inquire as to which nursing home facility he or she services. This will not only allow your loved one to keep the same doctor when transitioning to the nursing home community but also feel more comfortable in the new location as a familiar face is always appreciated. Your town’s local senior or community center can also be a good resource when searching for options. If all else fails, Medicare provides a list of nursing homes sorted by state and zip code.

Compare facilities. 

A nursing home that fits you and your loved one’s needs is essential for long-term care success. The nursing home facility’s health, safety, and fire inspection ratings are the first criteria you should evaluate. Government regulations are in place to protect nursing home residents from negligence and a low standard of care.

Schedule a tour.

Be sure to visit the nursing home you are considering. If you cannot visit the nursing home facility in person, ask a friend or relative to visit the location for you with a list of criteria and questions specifically tailored to your loved one’s needs. Gauge the following:

1. Interactions between nursing home staff and residents: Are the staff attentive? Do they address the residents by name?
2. Maintenance and upkeep of the nursing home: Do the facilities look well managed, clean, and hygienic?
3. Frequency and quality of planned activities for the residents: What kinds of the activities are on the schedule? Do you think your loved one will enjoy them?
4. Dining room facilities: Is the food tasty? Properly prepared and stored?

The age of the nursing home facility is not a factor you should consider because it is not indicative of the quality of care the resident will receive. The services provided by the caregivers as well as the nursing home facility’s accommodations, however, must meet the most current standards of care and safety in order to protect your loved one from personal injury resulting from medical malpractice and/or nursing home negligence.

The decision to move a loved one into a nursing home facility is a difficult one but one that usually works for the best for the resident and other family members. However, occasionally difficulties arise. If you suspect that a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, please contact the attorneys at Glass & Robson, LLC by calling (404) 751-4702 for a free consultation. The attorneys of our firm are experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorneys who have provided sound legal and effective legal representation to numerous cases throughout Georgia. We welcome the opportunity to speak with you.