Signs of a Good West Virginia Nursing Home
Watching our loved ones age is not always easy. At some point, he or she may require more attention than you are able to provide. When this time arrives, you will find yourself facing the same challenge that confronts thousands of families throughout West Virginia every year: The need to find a nursing home.
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation reports that more than 1.3 million residents are being cared for today in certified nursing homes around the U.S., including 8,852 in our state alone.
As you search for a nursing home, your concerns will include:
- How can I be sure the nursing home will treat my loved one with respect?
- Will he or she have fast access to necessary medical services?
- How can I be sure my loved one will not be subjected to nursing home abuse and neglect?
The attorneys of Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC help families to seek justice and cope with the consequences of nursing home abuse or neglect. We fully understand the various difficulties involved in choosing the right nursing home.
To help reduce the risk of your loved one becoming a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, we encourage you to research nursing homes online. Medicare has compiled a database of all U.S. Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing homes so that potential residents and their families can gain insight into how the facility ranks in terms of:
- Health inspections
- Staffing levels
- Tending to residents' needs
- Quality of care.
Once you have determined the level of care your loved one needs and compared nursing homes by reading their ratings, make sure you visit the various nursing homes you have identified as possibilities. You need to personally observe the facility. While you are there, carefully look around and ask yourself the following seven questions:
- Are public areas and resident rooms clean and well-maintained?Cleanliness is a very important factor in maintaining health, particularly for those in frail health. A facility that makes sure its staff takes the time to clean and keep the area sparkling clean for its residents and guests may also be more professional in tending to residents' needs. For the sake of safety, all areas should appear spotless, including patient rooms, kitchens and public or shared areas.
- Is the quality of food good?In addition to checking out the menu and dining area where your loved one will be eating his or her meals, you should also taste the food for yourself.Does the quality of food meet your personal standards? Is it food you would eat and you want your loved one to eat? Does it appear nutritious and appealing?You want your loved one to eat healthy foods as a basic to maintaining good health. Visiting around a mealtime allows you to observe the dishes being served to residents and the options for those with special needs such as a salt-free diet.
- Are policies in place to protect residents and their possessions?Ask for a copy of the nursing home's safety policies and procedures. Look around and observe the security that is in place.Do you see locks and alarms on outside doors so residents won't be able to wander off undetected? Does the facility provide secure areas so the residents can protect their valuables?A good nursing home will make it so your elderly loved one feels comfortable and at home - without having to worry about the safety of their personal property.
- How does the nursing home handle visits?Nursing homes with nothing to hide will have no issues with allowing residents to have visitors at any time. In fact, many nursing homes encourage visitors to come and spend time with their loved ones - as long as the timing is not disruptive to other residents.Ask whether your loved one will be able to have friends, family and loved ones visit whenever they want. Be sure to also find out the policies on residents leaving the facility for visits. An open door policy is a good sign.
- Are resident activities scheduled throughout the day?Residents should have the opportunity to remain active and participate in various activities throughout the day if they wish. You do not want your loved one to be confined to his or her room and suffering from boredom and loneliness. Engaging with others is an important part of healthy nursing home life.While you are visiting, review the facility's daily, weekly and monthly activities schedule. Do you see activities your loved one may enjoy? Don't forget to ask to see any of the activities scheduled while you are there. This will allow you to see if the activity is actually taking place, and if the residents seem to enjoy it. You can also observe the interaction between residents and staff members.
- Are staff members qualified, well-trained and not overworked?Take a look at the staff during your visit. Do they seem tired? Irritated? Find out about the staff-to-resident ratio. Having unqualified or overworked staff - as well as those who are not properly trained to do their jobs - will lower the quality of care a nursing home will be able to provide to your loved one.
- Is there friendly, respectful interaction between staff and residents?The interaction between staff and residents is often one of the most tell-tale signs of whether you have found a good nursing home. As you walk through the facility, see how staff members treat the residents.Are they respectful? Do they know each resident's name? Do they take the time to listen and understand, or do they appear more inclined to brush residents off? Patience and warm communication are virtues that the staff at a good nursing home will exhibit.If staff members are rude and disrespectful to each other or to residents, it is very likely they will treat your loved one the same way. If you see staff standing around chatting while residents sit there doing nothing and looking bored, it probably is not a good sign.If you are still uncertain as to whether you have found the right nursing home, the AARP and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services both offer additional information that can assist you in choosing a nursing home or other long-term care facility.
Get Help from an Experienced West Virginia Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Federal and state laws afford residents of nursing homes with certain protections and legal rights. If you believe your loved one has been moved into the wrong nursing home and has suffered harm from abuse or neglect, we advise you to get legal help right away. If you're looking for additional information regarding finding a good nursing home for your loved ones, download our free eBook which reveals the best kept secrets to ensure the safety of your loved ones in West Virginia nursing homes!
A skilled West Virginia nursing home abuse lawyer from Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, can investigate your claims and assist you in pursuing fair and just compensation for the injuries and losses your loved one has suffered. Your loved one's rights need to be protected. Let us be the aggressive advocate your family deserves. Call our firm today to find out how to get started.