It is imperative to do your research and ask the right questions when choosing a nursing home. Even when someone has done their due diligence, neglect can still occur. If you or a loved one has experienced ill-treatment in a nursing home, it may be time to contact a nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer. Our experienced personal injury attorneys at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi are on your side when a nursing home fails to deliver proper care.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Statistics
It is likely that you or a loved one will need to search for nursing homes at some point. Nursing homes play a large part in our society. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 70% of people turning 65 will require some sort of long-term care services and support.
At some point, around 35% will have nursing home care on-site. Unfortunately, not all facilities are the same and do not have the proper standards and protocols in place. This can lead to abuse and neglect of patients.
It has been found and reported by The World Health Organization (WHO) that 12% of nursing home resident report abuse each year, and 2 in 3 staff has admitted to neglecting the needs of patients. Neglect oftentimes comes from improper staffing and overfilling homes.
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The Importance of Asking Questions
Finding the ideal nursing home is difficult. Making decisions regarding long-term care is never easy, and now includes another factor thanks to COVID-19. Despite the fact that we now have vaccines and are aware of the best preventative methods, the pandemic had an impact on regulations governing staffing, supplies, visitation, and infection control.
One of the hardest and most stressful choices a family can make is to place a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility. The security, safety, and welfare of the inhabitants should be given top priority when choosing a facility. It is both your right and duty to question people with whom you will entrust your loved one’s care about the relevant matters.
Asking the right questions can mean the safety and proper care for a loved one vs. the abuse and neglect that can be sustained. Most questions should be about staff, protocols, and training.
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Question 1: What Is the Patient-to-Staff Ratio?
One of the main reasons for neglect is that nursing homes are commonly found to be understaffed. Asking how many residents to staff they are can help determine the right nursing home.
Professionals have found that the minimum staffing-to-patient ratio should be 6:1, according to a recent article. Asking this question, accompanied by research, like staffing data from each state, can ensure proper placement for your loved one.
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Question 2: What Training Has the Staff Gone Through?
Residents may need to address a range of clinical and health-related problems. In terms of overall quality of life, residents of nursing homes with highly skilled staff members who are knowledgeable about how to handle these conditions may do better.
Residents may need respiratory therapy and assistance managing supplementary oxygen when they have medical problems, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. If the staff is not properly equipped to handle such needs, the family and potential residents need to know this. This is also the case in cardiac patients who require special monitoring and equipment, patients with liver disease, dementia patients, and more.
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Question 3: Is Staff Turnover Common?
Staff members who have cared for the same people for a long time are better able to recognize residents’ needs and understand the type of care those individuals need. Ask about employee turnover because residents benefit from continuous and stable staffing.
A stable workforce is a positive sign. Additionally, regular assignment—where the same caregivers are given to the same residents every day—is vital. In this approach, staff members may get to know residents on a deeper level, anticipate their needs, and spot and solve issues before they become serious.
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Question 4: What Is a Typical Day for a Resident?
This is important because, in addition to medical needs, residents need to make connections to help with cognitive and emotional support. If residents are not given any activities and are left alone for long periods of the day, this can lead to a decline in their mental health and overall well-being.
Also, find out how many hours a day the staff spends with residents to make sure your loved one is not left alone or neglected. Are inhabitants frequently abandoned for long periods of time? How frequently are they checked on by staff? Do nurses prevent pressure and bed sores if your loved one is bedridden?
Question 5: What Are the Vaccine and Infection Protocols?
Ask about infection-control/prevention procedures, given that methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are still prevalent in nursing facilities. For instance, staff members must frequently wash their hands and be vaccinated against the flu each year.
All states have complied with the requirement that nursing home staff employees receive a COVID-19 vaccination as of late March 2022 (with the exception of those who must for medical or religious reasons). However, some nursing facilities can still be falling behind, endangering the residents. Make sure they are adhering to all laws and regulations issued by the government. It is evident from the ongoing COVID-19 data that nursing homes are still facing issues and illness.
Hiring an Attorney After Experiencing Abuse or Neglect in a Nursing Home
These are just a few questions that should be asked. There are many other questions that one should ask before placing a loved one, and always request a complete tour of the facilities before signing any obligations. Asking questions alongside a tour can give a good representation of the type of care one will receive.
Even when the proper questions are asked, neglect and abuse can still occur. If you or a loved one have been subjected to abuse and neglect at a nursing home, then you should contact our nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi for a free consultation.