How To Ensure Senior Safety In A Nursing Home
Taking care of a senior facing declining health and cognitive issues is a big responsibility. At times, you may not be able to manage it alone or even with the help of a professional caregiver at home. Sending your loved one to a nursing home is the best option, but it can be a daunting choice. Worrying about their safety and well-being is natural, and the stories of neglect and abuse aggravate the concerns.
The best way to address these concerns is by being more proactive and vigilant after turning the care of your loved one over to strangers. After all, they still need you, so you must play a role in their care and treatment. Although you cannot be there at all times, you can take some steps to ensure senior safety in a nursing home. Let us share the ones to ensure your loved one remains safe in the facility.
Pay attention beforehand
Vetting a facility before sending your loved one to live is crucial. Nursing homes have slick sales pitches and attractive websites to market themselves but do not take their word for care and safety. Start by checking online reviews before committing to a facility. A visit is essential to check the reality on the ground. Planning a surprise visit when they do not expect you is a wise move. You can drop in after dinner to get a fair idea of the treatment of the residents. Pay attention to details like sights, smells, and sounds. For example, the facility should be clean and clutter-free to prevent fall risks for the elderly. The persistent scent of urine spells a problem. Listen carefully to understand whether the staff members talk respectfully to the residents.
Ensure appropriate safety arrangements
Besides paying attention to the living conditions in nursing homes, you must ensure proper safety arrangements. The area should have non-slip flooring, good lighting, and ramps to make walking around safe and comfortable. Residents should have assistive devices and mobility aids such as canes, walkers, and wheelchairs to be on the safe side. Check the shower areas to ensure they have rubber mats, shower seats for bathtubs, and grab bars to address fall hazards in these high-risk zones.
Watch out for red flags
You may have done your best to vet the facility before sending your loved one there. But it is only a start because your responsibility does not end here. You must visit them often and pay attention to signs of physical abuse or neglect. Look out for red flags such as unexplained weight loss, change in personality, and altered sleeping or eating habits. Also, check financial red flags like unexpected large withdrawals from their accounts. Do not overlook the smallest suspicion because things may not be right. You should not hesitate about contacting a nursing home abuse attorney because they can guide you in reporting such incidents. Handling your concerns sooner than later can go a long way in ensuring safety from neglect or abuse.
Stay in touch
Besides planning frequent visits to the nursing home, staying in touch with your loved ones and their caregivers helps ensure safety. Be regular with check-ins, and drop in at different times of day without informing beforehand. Unexpected visits keep you on top of things as you know exactly whether your relative is safe. Spend quality time with the seniors and talk to their caregivers regarding their care and treatment. Staying in touch keeps everyone alert because they know you are watching them. Moreover, your loved one will enjoy the special moments.
Although frequent visits and calls to the nursing home help you to check on them, you can go the extra mile by using technology. Check the option of installing a camera in your relative's room to get real-time footage of their activities. States like Texas, Washington, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Illinois, and Louisiana allow families to do it. But you can use video calling to keep watch if cameras are not permitted. The good thing about video calls is that you can see subtle signs and body language of your loved one to detect anomalies. Visit them sooner than later if something appears amiss.
Safety should be your top priority while sending a senior to a nursing home. These facilities owe a duty of care to their residents, and you can bring up legal proceedings against neglect and abuse. But everything boils down to being vigilant and taking action at the right time. Your loved one deserves love and care, and taking their safety for granted is the last thing you should do.