7 Things You Can Look for to Determine the Quality of Life in a Nursing Home Patient
Choosing a nursing home for your loved one can cause significant stress, especially when you’re unsure of how safe the facility and staff truly are. This makes it imperative to truly understand the quality of life in any nursing home you consider for your elderly loved one before even having them stay there.
When you start to look for nursing homes, you should recognize some of the most important signs that could have an impact on your loved one’s quality of life. If there are any situations that make you uneasy about a facility, you can ask questions and have your concerns addressed. If you’re still uncomfortable, you shouldn’t let your loved one live in that facility.
Our firm wants you to make the best possible choice when it comes to protecting your elderly family member. As such, we provide a list of seven different things you can look for in a nursing home that may indicate a negative quality of life—and that you want to avoid at all costs.
1. Fall Evidence and History
Statistically, those who are older in age are more likely to suffer from a fall injury. This is simply due to the fact that many of them are getting older, losing their balance and coordination skills, and suffering from muscle tone issues that can make it difficult to stand for longer periods of time.
As such, it’s imperative that nursing home facilities ensure there are measures in place to prevent all residents in their care from suffering harm due to a fall. A large part of this is ensuring there is necessary equipment in areas where falls are common and having properly trained staff looking after the residents when there is a risk of falling.
Any history of falls or signs of missing items to protect residents should be a cause for concern.
2. Pain Experienced By Residents
If you notice any of the current residents experiencing moderate to severe pain, it can be a measure of quality within the nursing home. While it is not always indicative of a problem, if pain persists for an extended time, it could mean there is a lack of care from the staff.
Pain that goes untreated can lead to other problems including depression, significant weight loss, decreased mental health, decreased mobility, and more. It’s up to the staff to properly treat the pain in a timely manner and when it’s not done, it should be a warning sign to you and your loved one.
3. Overall Health of Residents
One problem that is not always discussed is malnutrition in nursing homes. This occurs far too often and as a result, residents suffer significant weight loss. Not only can this be a problem for internal health, loss in body weight may expose areas to potential pressure ulcers over time.
4. Presence of Pressure Ulcers
If a resident has a pressure ulcer, this means that they are bedridden, and the staff has not taken the steps to properly keep them on a turn schedule when necessary. Pressure ulcers can lead to serious infection and other health problems that must be addressed quickly.
A pressure ulcer may also be referred to as a bed sore. They are typically found in areas where the bone is more prominent such as the tailbone and heels. It can lead to serious problems over the long term.
5. Behavioral Problems
Take a look at the residents in the nursing home. Do they appear happy? Are they engaging with other residents and the staff? Or are they displaying potential signs of fear, avoiding eye contact, and hanging out by themselves?
When abuse is present in a nursing home, it can cause the residents to change the way they behave, often avoiding eye contact or verbal correspondence with their abusers. They may not partake in social activities and show signs of isolation.
There are also potential signs of depression to look out for as a result of abuse, which can require the resident to take medication or participate in therapy.
6. Restraints and Medications
There are times when the nursing home staff may be unable to control residents, or they try and find ways to punish them for certain actions. This could lead to the use of restraints, antipsychotic medications, or other sedation to control the patient.
If these are present, it could lead to even further physical and mental harm, as well as changes in how the elderly behaves. There is no reason for restraints or medication to be applied inappropriately by a nursing home staff member.
7. Staff-to-Resident Ratio
One thing that could dictate the quality of life in a particular nursing home is the staff-to-resident ratio. It’s well known that a lack of proper staff can mean the residents don’t receive the care they need in order to have a high quality of life in the nursing home.
If there are too few staff members, there is an increased risk of slip and falls, physical and mental abuse, lack of turn schedules, and other problems that can significantly harm a resident. It’s important to indicate whether the nursing home you’re looking into has the necessary members of staff based on how many residents are present.
What Should Be Done If I Suspect Abuse?
If you are looking for a nursing home for your loved one and a facility you look into has a potential problem of abuse or negligence, it’s important to file a report. Filing a report means you can help others from sustaining harm.
If your loved one is already in a nursing home and upon visiting, you recognize serious signs of negligence, you should take action as quickly as possible. You can hold the responsible party accountable and force the nursing home to change how they operate—all while preventing your loved one and other residents from suffering further harm.
How The Gatti Law Firm Can Help You In Your Time of Need
For more than 45 years, we have strongly advocated on behalf of nursing home residents and their families when negligence and abuse has taken precedence over the care the elderly deserve. When physical and mental abuse occurs, we take a strong stance against those responsible, working to secure justice and compensation for the injured.
The Gatti Law Firm has a long-standing reputation for focusing on the rights of our clients at every stage of the process. We prioritize you and your family during a difficult time with the care and personalized attention you deserve.
When it comes to pursuing nursing home abuse cases, our team is never afraid of a challenge. You can count on our Oregon nursing home abuse attorneys to be the voice you need to stand up and step forward against neglect. You can count on us to advocate for your rights. You can count on us to go above and beyond to provide a better future for your loved one and prevent others from experiencing the same fate.
Call our firm today at (503) 543-1114. We’re here to discuss your potential rights and options in a free consultation, explaining the steps that must be taken, and safeguarding your best interests at every turn.