A nursing home offers a safe environment for aging and sick people who cannot be cared for at home but do not need hospital treatment.

These spaces provide us with support and assistance when we need help caring for our loved ones. 

Sadly, some nursing homes exploit this vulnerability and become burdensome instead of providing a safe environment.

Study results by Nursing Home Abuse Centre estimate that 1 to 2 million seniors have suffered abuse in nursing homes in the United States.

Likewise, government agencies receive less than 5% of allegations of financial exploitation and less than 10% of accusations of physical elder abuse. 

How to Avoid Nursing Home Errors and Mistakes?

Just because you have taken care of the needs of your loved ones by sending them to assisted living doesn’t mean they will stop needing you.

Even if you cannot be there every hour of every day, you still need to be a caregiver and advocate for your loved one.

Here are some critical tips for avoiding nursing home errors and ensuring the safety of your loved ones.

1. Take Legal Action

Your loved one may be entitled to compensation if they have suffered injuries from nursing home abuse. 

A nursing home that does not provide residents with the type of care they deserve, that facility is liable for compensation.

There should be some peace of mind for families who leave their loved ones in a nursing home that promises to follow the principle of care.

The abuse of your loved ones is not the only reason to seek compensation. Nursing homes are also accountable for neglect and errors that can risk your loved one’s life. 

If your question is – can you sue a nursing home for neglect? Yes, you can. 

Our seniors suffer traumatic emotions and psychological harm due to neglect in their facility. Not having proper assisted devices (wheelchairs, bed lifts, rails) and medical errors are the most common examples of negligence.

In some cases, these issues can even cause death or shorten a person’s lifespan.

Filing a lawsuit will help you get some closure and financial support for the neglect your loved one has suffered.

However, your settlement depends on the case you and your lawyer decide to file against the nursing home. 

2. Stay aware of the safety concerns

Seniors living in the assisted facility face several safety concerns. Some accidents are almost guaranteed to occur, like falls, but nursing homes should have plans to mitigate these incidents and prevent them from happening again.

In addition, you should also ensure their safety by visiting them regularly.

3. Make sure you pay attention to what you hear, see, and smell

Your job doesn’t end at thoroughly vetting any facility you might consider for your loved one; it must extend beyond that.

You should not only inspect the quality of care your loved one receives before committing to a facility, but you should also keep your eyes and ears open for any distinctive signs after they have moved in. 

Remember to watch out for any foul odors when visiting the facility, especially if the smell is bland yet persistent. It may indicate the presence of urine or ammonia. 

It is also essential to pay attention to how the staff members talk to other residents. Instead of using pet names or terms, such as “Uncle” or “Grandpa,” they should address them respectfully with Mr. and Mrs.

4. Watch out for red flags

Investing changes in personality, mood, sleep or eating habits, or physical activity is essential. There are many signs of abuse, and not all appear as bruises or bedsores.

Nevertheless, either sign should be reported as soon as possible. You should contact the unit supervisor or head nurse if you observe your loved one is depressed, afraid, or lazy.

If something makes your loved one uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to ask, although they may fear retribution if they tell the truth. Moving them as soon as possible is essential in cases of abuse. 

It would be best if you also investigated any financial changes on their account, for example, sudden large withdrawals. To prevent financial transactions from going through without approval, appoint a relative as power of attorney.

5. Stay connected

Visiting your loved ones frequently is an excellent way to ensure they receive the care they need. If you cannot see them daily, visit several times weekly and ensure your visits are unscheduled and at different times.

This way, you’ll not only be able to monitor your loved one’s care even when the staff isn’t expecting you, but you’ll also be able to brighten their day.

Bringing a sweet treat, a book, or old photos to share with your loved one is a great way to spend time together.

It is a blessing to no longer be a full-time caregiver, so you can reconnect with your loved one in a relaxed atmosphere where you can be stress-free.

You can check on them through surveillance and view video footage at your convenience if the camera records continuously.

While only a few states automatically allow nursing homes to have cameras in their rooms, be sure to take the consent of your senior. 

However, you might be unable to defend yourself in court if you violate any policies prohibiting cameras. In that case, you can video call them to check on their progress. Stay alert to the subtle cues you may pick during the call. 

Additionally, you can activate the GPS tracker on their phones so you know where they are at all times.

6. Don’t Stay Quiet

Be sure to follow the proper channels if you notice something that concerns you or if there is a deficiency. An excellent place to start is with the unit manager on the floor where your loved one lives.

Since they are closest to the staff and residents, they can investigate and take action swiftly.

You should take your conversation up the chain of command if you don’t get the desired results. If a problem persists, the facility should provide a formal complaint procedure that ensures your concern is addressed quickly, typically within 48 hours or less.

If you are still dissatisfied, speak directly to the nursing home administrator. If that doesn’t work, you can file a complaint to the state agency responsible for nursing homes.

Conclusion

Aging comes with challenges- mood fluctuations, memory issues, and leg instability are just a few. Seniors can suffer these challenges, mainly in close quarters in nursing homes.

As loved ones, we must ensure they don’t go through the dangers. They can fall prey to nursing home abuse, risks, and errors and suffer greatly.

Following the proper decorum must ensure the abuse does not continue. Additionally, we should not remain silent and take legal action if abuse occurs.