One of the most difficult decisions you may have to make regarding your elderly loved ones is to place them in a nursing home. Once this decision has been made, you are then tasked with choosing the right long-term care facility for them. Even if you are not pressured by time, this decision is often met with trepidation and confusion. For some people, it can even be a paralyzing decision. There can be a lot at stake, and you don’t want to make the wrong decision.
If you find you have made the wrong decision and suspect your loved one may be the victim of abuse or neglect, a skilled nursing home abuse attorney in Pennsylvania can help you pursue justice on their behalf.
Find and Learn about Nursing Homes in the Area
The first step to finding the right nursing home for your loved one is to find available facilities in your area or the area where your loved one will live. You can do this by asking people you know and trust, asking your medical providers, contacting your local senior center, use government resources, or use the Eldercare Locator or an Aging and Disability Resource Center.
If your loved one is in the hospital, you can also ask for help from the case manager or social worker who is managing their discharge planning. They should be familiar with the options for long-term care in the area and can help you find one that meets the specific needs of your family member.
Do Your Homework: Compare the Quality of Care
Once you know about the available options in the area, it is time to compare what they offer. There are several ways to do this:
- Get information on Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes
- Call your Long-Term Care Ombudsman
- Call your state health department or state licensing agency
- Look in the blue pages in the phone book or on the internet
- Look at survey findings (CMS Form 2567) for the facility which can be found on Nursing Home Compare and in the nursing home itself
- You can also ask the facility for a copy of the full survey or the last complaint investigation report
You will want to consider the quality of care your loved one will receive, what their quality of life will be like in the nursing home, the staffing at the nursing home, the security they provide, and the food and nutrition options.
While this can be time-consuming, taking these steps and finding out the right information can help you make the right decision and decrease the chances of your elderly loved one becoming a victim of abuse or neglect and needing the services of a Pennsylvania nursing home abuse attorney.
Visit Potential Nursing Homes
You wouldn’t want to send your family member to a long-term care facility that you had not visited yourself or had someone you trust to visit. Once you have narrowed down the list of possible nursing home options for your family member, it is time to visit them. At this visit, you can see the residents and staff as well as the setting of the facility. You can ask questions and discuss the care with the nursing home’s administration, employees, residents, and the family members of existing residents.
Be sure to call and schedule an appointment for your visit but also drop in at some point. If you witness things you do not understand, ask for explanations. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to ask to talk with other residents to learn more about the care provided there. Questions you may want to ask while you are there include:
- How many residents is a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) assigned to at one time?
- How many residents does each RN oversee?
- What type of therapy is available at this facility?
- What types of meals does the nursing home serve?
- Will the same nursing home staff take care of your loved one day-to-day or do they change?
- Does the nursing home make sure residents get preventive care to help keep them healthy?
- Is there access to oral care in the nursing home?
- Is there access to mental health care in the nursing home?
- Can you get a copy of any resident policies that must be followed?
- Can the residents have visitors at any time? Can they bring pets?
- Can residents decorate their living space any way they want?
- What is privacy like?
- Who are the doctors who will care for my loved one?
- Is a bed available now, or can my loved one’s name be added to a waiting list?
- What’s a plan of care, who makes it, and what does it look like?
Making the Decision
If possible, involve your loved one in choosing their long-term care facility. If more than one facility seems like it is acceptable and safe, find out what factors are most important to them; do they want a low resident to staff ratio, social activities, or do they care about their privacy more? It can take time to find the right fit. If a bed isn’t available in the nursing home of your or their choice, there may be options while you wait for a bed to open up.
Help from an Experienced Pennsylvania Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If you are searching for a new nursing home for your loved one due to suspected or confirmed abuse or neglect at their current or former facility, you are not alone. Nursing homes can be deceiving, and you may not realize what goes on there until it is too late. A well-versed Pennsylvania nursing home abuse lawyer from our firm is here to help you if your loved one is one of the many American nursing home residents who have suffered abuse and neglect. The first step in getting the help you and your loved one need is to schedule a legal consultation.