Nursing Home Facility Red Flags You Do Not Want to Ignore
Selecting a nursing home or other long-term care facility for your family member is not easy. How can you be sure a facility is safe and will provide the level of care your loved one needs? There are no guarantees, but there are warning signs facilities often reveal that indicate the risk for neglect or abuse may be high.
PKSD discusses some red flags you may find at some of the facilities you visit while searching for a quality nursing home for your loved one.
Our nursing home abuse lawyers in Wisconsin are deeply committed to protecting our elderly in long-term care, and we have a long and successful track record. If you suspect the abuse or neglect of a loved one in his or her nursing home, we are ready to help. Call our law offices 24/7 to learn more.
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Key Facility Warning Signs to Watch For
Although it is important to be aware of staffing red flags when determining the quality of care a nursing home is likely to provide, there are some facility warning signs to watch for as well.
Here are just a few of the most notable red-flag indicators that you should continue your search for a nursing home elsewhere.
- Poor reviews: Check online reviews for any facility you are considering. One or more bad quality reviews are likely for any facility, but a pattern of similar bad reviews is a red flag.
- Facility is filthy and/or run-down: Does the facility look dirty or smell bad? Are the grounds and building well-kept, or in need of repair? If the facility is not maintained, it may mean funding is low, or the administrators and owners do not bother. Neither situation bodes well for a potential resident.
- Location is unsafe: This is a key factor many people may forget about, but if your loved one wanders due to Alzheimer’s or another medical condition, you want to know the location is a safe one. Facilities next to busy roads or in a bad neighborhood could be dangerous.
- Unsafe conditions exist: Check for unsafe conditions in bedrooms and gathering areas. Some examples include beds set too high off the ground, loose railings in the bathrooms and non-working call buttons. Poor lighting anywhere around the facility can lead to a trip and fall or create an unsafe environment where a resident could be attacked or abused without being seen.
- Overly loud environment: Living in an environment that is excessively noisy is unpleasant for anyone. The facility is responsible for providing a pleasant, comfortable and safe living environment for your loved one.
- Meals are poor quality: Nutrition plays a major role in maintaining your loved one’s health. Check out the meal calendar to see what type of food is being served on a regular basis. Low-quality food is another tell-tale sign that a facility may not have sufficient funds to properly care for residents.
- Inflexible visitation hours: Although the pandemic temporarily impacted visitation at nursing homes across the country, in general, families should be able to visit loved ones at any time. Any facility that is rigid in its visitation may be hiding something.
- Residents have no privacy: Residents have the right to the privacy of their person and belongings. If rooms do not provide any allowance for this, such as a lockbox or safe, residents may be at risk for financial abuse or theft.
- Call lights are not answered: This one may be harder to catch during a visit, but if you notice call lights regularly going unanswered, it is a huge red light that the level of care may be lacking.
- No designated areas for indoor or outdoor activities: The elderly have a right to safely enjoy walking outdoors or engage in other activities indoors. Social time significantly impacts a resident’s well-being.
Tips To Help Your Search for Quality Long-Term Care
The best time to find a nursing home for your family member is before there is a pressing need for one. Often, when there is an urgency, stress can make it easier to miss important signs or red flags of poor care. Also, if you look for a long-term care facility earlier, your loved one may be able to be more involved in the process.
That said, in addition to checking for the warning signs mentioned above, be sure to:
- Start your online search using Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare tool for star ratings and recent inspections. ProPublica’s Nursing Home Inspect is another site you can find more in-depth information about facilities.
- Find a place as close to home as possible, so that you can visit often.
- Check for any local or state organizations that can provide additional insight or help.
Call Our Law Firm if You Suspect Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse
We strongly believe that our elderly have a right to be treated with dignity and receive proper care, without fear of suffering harm due to neglect or abuse.
At PKSD, we have extensive experience handling nursing home abuse cases, and we are dedicated to answering your legal questions. If your loved one is in a nursing home and you suspect he or she is being neglected, or worse still, there is evidence of possible abuse, you should seek legal help immediately. Call our law offices to learn more and schedule your free, no-obligation case review. We are here to help.
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