If you have a loved one in a nursing home, it’s completely natural to feel somewhat helpless over their care at times. How can you be 100% sure they’ll remain safe? How can you trust healthcare professionals to watch over your loved one as necessary? It isn’t easy to place trust in nursing care facilities, but by keeping a close eye on your loved one and the facility, you can potentially protect them from getting hurt, harmed, or abused.
Here are 3 ways you can protect a loved one in a nursing home:
Visit Often and Diversify Your Visits
One of the best ways to ensure your loved one is being taken care of properly is to visit them often. Diversify your visits so staff members are not expecting you. This lets you see how they really care for residents. During your visits, always keep your eyes, ears, and nose open for red flags (see below). Pay attention to how staff members split up shifts and how meals are served. Notice how often the rooms are cleaned and how quickly your loved one’s requests are fulfilled.
Watch for Red Flags
When visiting your loved one, watch out for the following red flags:
- Signs of uncleanliness including spills that haven’t been cleaned up, foul odors, unclean linens, messy hallways/dining areas, pests like flies or ants, or signs of mildew in the bathrooms
- Residents who are left alone for long periods of time
- Evidence that residents are needlessly overmedicated
- Evidence of falls such as excessive bruising (this is a sign that residents aren’t receiving assistance when going to the restroom or could also point to abuse)
- Poor lighting and/or a lack of other safety features such as handrails, slip-preventative surfaces, etc.
- Poor supervision
- Unorganized employee shifts
- Signs of malnutrition and/or dehydration
Any of the above red flags should be reported immediately. These are signs that residents are not being properly taken care of and/or may be being abused.
Make an Ally with a Staff Member
Early on in your loved one’s residency, get to know the staff members who watch over your loved one’s floor and/or wing. Talk to as many employees who are involved in your loved one’s care as you can and let them know how important your loved one’s safety is. Help them get to know your loved one.
Your goal is to make an ally. If you have someone who works in the facility that knows you and your loved one and is trustworthy, you can easily call them to find out how your loved one is doing or go to them with any questions or concerns.
By following the above tips, you can help protect your loved one even when you can’t be there for them every day. If, unfortunately, you suspect that your loved one is being abused in a nursing home or was injured due to negligence, it may be comforting to know that you have legal options. By filing a lawsuit against the facility, you may be able to gain financial compensation that can go towards recovery and relocation costs as well as peace of mind.
To help keep your loved one safe and protect future residents from being harmed or abused in the state of Missouri, get in touch with a Columbia, MO nursing home abuse lawyer today. At Thomas Law Offices, we can help your family through this difficult time. Get in touch to learn more.