Our Illinois nursing home abuse lawyers repeatedly urge families whose loved ones have been mistreated at facilities to come forward and press their rights so that changes can be demanded at these homes. However, we fully appreciate that all families would much rather avoid having to deal with these issues at all. Ensuring that their loved one will receive proper care from the outset-instead of demanding accountability after an injury-is always the preferred course.
There is no single way to have a one hundred percent guarantee that a loved one will not be mistreated at a home. However, doing a bit of research and learning about potential facilities before making a decision can go a long way to lowering the odds that a parents or elderly relative will face nursing home abuse. Tools exist to help guide families at the inherently difficult times when decisions about placing a senior in a long-term care facility are discussed.
A CNN Money article last week delved into the issue, reminded readers of the importance of choosing the right nursing home. From the outset it was conceded, however, that many families are forced to make this decision in the midst of emergency when emotions are high and there is little time to conduct the overall investigation that most would prefer. A common occurrence, for example, is for a senior to suffer a serious health event while living at home (like a fall), spend a bit of time in a hospital, and then need to be immediately discharged to an assisted-living facility. When this happens a family may only have one day or two to make these decisions.
So what should families do to help in the process?
For starters, the Medicare nursing home ratings from the Nursing Home Compare website is an incredibly helpful tool to quickly get a gauge of the quality of care provided by local facilities. Each nursing home has a “star” rating, but even more detailed information can be obtained. Individual statistics can be found regarding the total number of citations that the facility has been given recently, total staffing levels, and other similar quality of care indicators.
In addition, it is often helpful to get the contact information (available on the Medicare site) for the state’s ombudsman and licensing agency. These individuals and groups can answer more specific questions about consumer complaints and quality of care concerns at certain facilities.
Nothing beats visit to the long-term care facility to get a first-hand impression of what the home is like, how the residents are treated, and the quality of life that seems to permeate the home. During visits it is important to ask whether staffers are rotated between residents, how many specific requests can be granted, and similar concerns.
While it may not been the most pleasant task, our Chicago nursing home lawyers recommend families conduct some of this planning ahead of time, well before a senior might actually need to have around-the-clock care. A list of preferable facilities in your area should be made so that, in the event that the senior suddenly needs close care, the family will not be forced to make quick decisions about where their loved one should move. As with anything, prior planning can make a world of difference. However, even if you do not have time to conduct proper planning, it is important to remember that the law demands caregivers at every single facility treat seniors in their charge adequately. All injuries which should have been prevented by caregivers must be brought to light. That is the only way that changes can be demanded and chronic nursing home neglect can be stamped out.
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