Whether you are making the decision for a spouse, a parent, or another loved one, deciding that someone you love requires the type of care that can only be provided in a nursing home is typically a heart-wrenching decision. Once that decision has been made, however, yet another difficult decision must be made – which nursing home to select? If you find yourself in this situation, you are likely worried about your loved one becoming the victim of elder abuse and/or neglect given how frequently is appears to occur across the nation. To help you make the difficult decision ahead of you, the Grand Forks nursing home attorneys at German Law have created a list of the top 10 questions to ask when choosing a nursing home.
Is Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Really That Common?
Abuse and neglect of the elderly is not a problem that just popped up overnight in the United States. It has always been a problem; however, as the number of older adults continues to grow exponentially in the U.S., we are hearing about the problem more frequently than we once did. Because victims of elder abuse are often ashamed or embarrassed to be a victim or because they fear reprisals from the abusers they often depend on, compiling accurate figures relating to elder abuse and neglect in the U.S. remains difficult. Estimates offered by experts, however, are shocking enough – and the estimates are usually considered to be conservative. Consider the following:
- 1 in 10 Americans age 60 and older have experienced some form of elder abuse
- Only 1 in 14 cases of abuse is believed to be reported
- 5 million elders are likely abused each year
- More than 40% of nursing home residents have reported abuse, and more than 90% report that they or another resident of the facility have been neglected;
- Research from 2010 indicates that up to half of all nursing home attendants have admitted abusing or neglecting elderly patients;
- More than half of all Certified Nursing Assistants (CAN’s) in elder care facilities have admitted verbally abusing, yelling at, and using foul language with elderly residents of care facilities.
Questions to Ask When Choosing a Nursing Home
Sometimes, simply asking the right question will open the door to all the information you need to make the best choice for you and for your loved one. With that in mind, feel free to use any, or all, of the following question in your search for the right nursing home.
- What is your doctor to patient ratio?
- Is there a licensed physician onsite 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
- What is your overall staff to patient ratio?
- Have you received any actionable complaints in the last five years?
- What type of background checks do you run before hiring staff?
- What type of social programs do you have for residents?
- Are the residents able to choose from a menu each day or must they eat whatever is being served that day?
- What type of outdoor space and activities do you provide for residents?
- What are the visiting procedures?
- What is your complaint procedure?
Of course, you may decide to add questions of your own relating to specific issues your loved one may have or that are of particular concern to you; however, the above ten questions should get an exchange of valuable information flowing from the nursing home administration to you. Do not hesitate to ask follow-up questions or to ask for additional information if an answer does not appear to be sufficient. Remember that the nursing home you choose will be caring for your loved one around the clock. Nothing you ask should be offensive or insulting to them if they truly have your loved one’s best interests at heart. Finally, while the answers provided by the administration should be of great help to you, some of them should be checked for accuracy. For example, be sure to check with the North Dakota Department of Health to verify the number of complaints filed against a nursing home and the result of the corresponding investigation if one was warranted.
Contact Nursing Home Attorneys
If, despite your best efforts to find the right nursing home for your loved one, you suspect that he or she is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact the experienced nursing home attorneys at German Law by calling 701-738-0060 to schedule an appointment to discuss your legal options.