Entrusting the care of your loved one to people you don’t know can be stressful. But, when you find the right nursing home or assisted-care facility, it can make all the difference. You know your family member is receiving the very best care and attention from qualified professionals.
Finding the right facility takes some research, though, and you need to know what questions to ask – particularly when it comes to verifying the safety of the nursing home or assisted-care facility.
Here are 4 essential safety checks you need to do when choosing a nursing home.
1. Ask About the Training and Education of the Staff
You’ll want to make sure there are qualified nurses on hand as well as staff members with the training to handle specific medical conditions. If your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, find out if the facility has staff trained to care for someone with those conditions.
Also inquire about staff turnover. Does it seem the facility has a revolving door with new staff members coming on board for a short period of time and then leaving? That could be a red flag that something’s not right. If people are unhappy working at a facility, it’s a good bet your loved one won’t be happy living there either.
2. Find Out How the Medications Are Handled
A study by the Department of Health Policy and Management at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that more than 37 percent of the 15,000 errors reported by 294 nursing homes were repeated one or more times. Wrong dosage and wrong administration of medications were the most frequently repeated errors. Sometimes nursing home staff members are intentionally over-medicating patients in an effort to sedate them.
Ask detailed questions about how medications are stored and dispensed. Who has access to the medications and what sort of checks and balances are in place? Anyone can make a mistake – grabbing the wrong pill bottle or miscounting meds. But even an innocent error can lead to a serious medical issue.
3. Request Copies of Current Inspection Records and Certifications
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requires each state to inspect any nursing home that gets money from the government. If the facility doesn’t pass the inspection, it’s not certified. Ask to review the certifications and any other supporting documents. You also can inquire with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control about any complaints against the nursing home.
4. Check Online for Poor Reviews and Violations
Just because you ask the nursing home or assisted-care facility for reports doesn’t mean staff members are always completely transparent. Do your own research and digging. Conduct a Google search to see if others have complained about the facility.
Also, the government-run Nursing Home Compare website provides information on every Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the country. In South Carolina, the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Division of Nursing Homes will investigate complaints against a nursing home or home health agency.
Even if you’ve done thorough research, toured the facility and feel good about your due diligence, no decision is ever foolproof. In the event you discover – or even suspect – your loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect at a South Carolina nursing home, consult experienced attorneys like the team at Joye Law Firm. Since 1968, they have helped injured people recover not just the money they are entitled to, but also their lives.
To learn how Joye Law can help you, visit JoyeLawFirm.com or call (843) 507-4959.