Do you get anxious at the thought of placing a parent or a loved one in a nursing home? You may worry about whether you have chosen a safe facility for your loved one and whether your loved one will feel at home. How do you avoid nursing home injury and find good care? Consider following these tips to increase the odds of doing just that.

Doing research may be the best place to start. Once you have identified a few potential nursing homes, spend some time looking online for information about the nursing home. Read the reviews to gain an understanding of customer experiences at the facility and to help you determine the questions you would like to ask, if you visit the facility. You should be able to look the nursing home up on the state website to determine if the nursing home has ever been cited for poor care. If the nursing home has multiple citations, this may be a sign that it is not the right choice for your loved one. 

Additionally, consider touring the facility, and asking a lot of questions about the staff. Inquire about the safety and training programs in place at the facility, as facilities with good safety training programs usually have fewer resident injuries. Inquire about the staff turnover. Many nursing homes have a high staff turnover, which can be stressful to residents who have to get used to new caregivers. Additionally, having a consistent caregiver, who understands the resident’s habits, as well as, safety risks, can provide a safer environment for the resident. 

Also, look around, when you tour the facility. Observe how the staff are interacting with the residents. Do they look them in the eyes and talk with them, making sure their needs are being met, or are they more robotic, rushing through their job? This is where your loved one will live and it is important that they feel valued. As many nursing home injuries are falls related, take a look around in terms of falls prevention. Are there rails along the hallways that an unsteady person can hold onto? Are the hallways clear of hazards that someone could trip and fall on? Are the resident’s rooms kept tidy?     

Once a nursing home has been selected, your job may have only just begun. You may want to call daily and speak with both your family member and a staff member for an update.  Getting to know the staff members well can also be a benefit to your family member. Visit as often as possible, so that you have the opportunity to observe the environment firsthand, and be sure to also ask your family member how things are going.

Following these tips should assist you in selecting a nursing home that will be both safe and provide good care for your loved one. If, however,  any concerns develop, address them with a staff member or nursing home administration and make notes of any concerns you may have. If doing this does not address your concerns, or it appears that elder abuse is occurring, you can contact an elder law attorney for assistance with investigating and advice on how to proceed.     

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