5 Ways to Look Out for a Loved One While They Are in a Nursing Home
Transitioning your loved one to a nursing home can be difficult. You want to help your family during difficult times, but some older patients need specialized care and medical attention that you aren’t able to provide at home. If you want to help them and show that you care, there are plenty of ways to do that in this new setting.
If you’re looking for ways to take care of your loved one while they are in a nursing home, keep reading for a few ways that you can make sure that they get the best treatment possible.
1. Make Regular Visits
While visiting your loved one in an unfamiliar setting can be tough, visits from family members and friends are essential to keep residents’ spirits high. Older adults’ health and wellness can deteriorate without socialization, so it’s important to stay in contact and make sure they know how much you care. Regular phone calls are a great idea too.
Further, in-person visits can help you detect signs of abuse and neglect. While many nursing homes are staffed by wonderful and caring people, unfortunately, many residents face mistreatment during their stay. If you come in and out often enough to notice differences in your loved one’s condition or demeanor, you can catch these problems and report them before there are long-term effects.
2. Chat with the Staff
Another great way to take an active role in your loved one’s care is to get to know the people who treat them. Chat with them during your visits so you can get a good idea of their temperaments. If they seem attentive, kind, and knowledgeable, they are likely good workers who care about your loved one and their other patients.
Alternatively, make sure to take note of the workers who seem terse or dismissive with their residents. This is a worrying sign that could show you what your loved one faces when you aren’t around.
3. Seek Out Warning Signs
If you frequent your loved one’s nursing home, make note of the warning signs that may denote that they’re in a bad environment. If call lights go unanswered, residents are visibly unkempt or unclean, or they seem overall upset or agitated, these are signs that the staff could be neglecting their needs and requests.
You should also look out for staff behaviors. If staff members are constantly being replaced or fail to answer your questions clearly, this could be a sign of bad care. If your loved one ever mentions that they don’t want a particular staff member to care for them, they may have been cruel or rough with them before. Any of these signs are worthy of concern and could potentially prompt you to find a new facility.
4. Keep Your Own Records
Take your loved one’s complaints and comments seriously and keep notes on the people and events they mention. Be specific and detailed in the event that you need to use your records as evidence of the nursing home’s poor care during a legal dispute. If your loved one reports verbal abuse, make note of the comments and of the date of your report to the facility’s office. This way, you can track how long it takes them to respond or take action.
In the unfortunate event that your loved one shows signs of physical abuse or neglect, try to take pictures of the marks you notice and record the date. Common nursing home injuries like falls, bed sores, and bruises can be even more serious than they appear and cause long-term issues. If you keep track of your loved one’s condition, you can see if they improve, worsen, or show new signs before the issue is resolved and they can be removed from the facility.
5. Look for Alternatives
Poor treatment is inexcusable and you have to take action in the event that your loved one is in a bad situation. Don’t hesitate to look for a different nursing home, as good ones can have waitlists and high payments that will take time to get into and get financed. If you need to do better and more thorough research on options in your area, check the Medicare nursing home database to see ratings, reviews, and inspection records for nearby facilities. If your loved one’s condition allows, you may also want to opt for a different method like in-home care. All that matters is that you find your loved one the resources to get the care that they need.
Ultimately, nursing homes can be intimidating and worrisome for residents’ families. The threat of bad care and its effects can make it difficult to entrust your loved one’s health and wellbeing to a new facility, but there are good options out there and ways to recognize the bad ones. If you stay informed and keep in contact with your loved one, you’ll ensure that they get the best possible care.