What are the consequences of nursing home neglect?
As the population grows older, many individuals and their loved ones will need to make difficult decisions about long-term care. When a parent or another relative can no longer care for themselves, becoming a resident of a nursing home may be the best option. Given that elder abuse and neglect is a growing problem, however, finding the right facility requires careful consideration.
Nursing Home Injuries
While many nursing homes provide their residents with an appropriate standard of care, others may look to maximize profits by cutting costs. In so doing, these facilities may not have adequate staff or hire workers who lack sufficient training. In these environments, patients can be neglected and suffer a wide range of injuries.
One of the leading causes of injuries to patients is falls that often occur when caregivers fail to properly supervise residents. These injuries can be prevented however, and nursing homes are required to develop a care plan when patients first enter the facility. This plan must include a risk assessment to determine how much assistance the patient will need to be able to move round safely.
Moreover, patients with mental impairments, such as dementia and Alzheimer's Disease, are prone to "wandering and elopement." This occurs when poorly supervised residents wander away from the facility, which can lead to serious injuries. In addition, patients who are neglected can also suffer from bed sores, malnutrition and dehydration.
Choosing a Nursing Home
Because choosing a nursing home involves complex emotions, it is essential to have as much information as possible. The first consideration is how state and federal agencies rank the facility. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), for example, rates nursing homes based on a number of factors such as annual health inspections, residents' quality of life, and staffing levels. The CMS and state regulators also have information about whether the facility has any violations or if complaints have been filed.
It is also a good idea to get recommendations from doctors, elder law attorneys, friends and co-workers. One you have a list of prospective facilities, it is necessary to arrange for a visit at which time you can determine if there is adequate staff, if the facility is clean and properly maintained, and whether patients are being properly supervised and treated by a caring staff.
In the end, choosing a nursing home is only one part of long-term care planning that also involves Medicaid planning. Engaging the services of an experienced elder law attorney can lend itself to helping you and your loved ones make the best long-term care choices.