Nursing Home Checklist: Does Your Facility Tick These Boxes?

disabled-1794484_1920-300x259Choosing a nursing home for a loved one can be a difficult process. You want a nursing home where your loved one will not just be comfortable, but also safe and well cared for. Choosing a nursing home where he or she will be all of these things is not easy. Unfortunately, in some instances, elders are mistreated, abused and neglected in some of Indiana’s elder care facilities.

If you are currently looking for a nursing home for your loved one, ask yourself these questions and analyze the answers before you make a decision:

  • Does the facility meet safety standards? A hygienic and healthy environment is key to keeping your loved one secure. Look around the facility, and check if it looks clean and well maintained. Does it smell clean, or does it smell musty or stale? Overall, does the facility have a healthy, friendly and appealing environment that will make a resident feel at home?
  • How secure is the facility? Is the facility designed to reduce the risk of accidents? Are staircases and hallways illuminated? Are there guardrail and handrails wherever necessary to avoid the risk of falls? Do doors and windows have safety locks? Do bathrooms and showers have grab bars, to reduce the risk of falls and slips? Are staircases, well-maintained and sturdy or are there broken stairs that pose a trip hazard?   Does the facility have 24 -hour power backup facility? Does it provide for clearly well-defined fire exits?
  • Is there a process of verification of staff members certification and licensure before employment?
  • Is the facility certified by Medicare or Medicaid?
  • Is the facility well-staffed for the number of residents it houses? Over-staffing is a major problem in many of the nursing homes in Indiana. Does the facility have enough numbers of licensed nurses on duty during each shift? How many registered nurses or providers will work on each shift? What is the patient-to-staff ratio at the facility? Are staff members trained to deal with special needs of patients, like dementia, and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease?

Even if you’ve answered the above questions to your satisfaction, a facility may still have very reduced standards of care for patients. Your loved one requires a safe and healthy environment, but also one where she’s cared for, and where her emotional needs are met. Look for a facility that offers activities for residents. Look around the facility and check to see if staff members interact with residents. They should look clean, happy and well groomed. Staff members should be seen talking to residents, checking on them, and interacting with them frequently.

Its important that there is a good variety of food is available to residents. There should be lots of choices available and plenty of water available in all of the residents’ rooms. If residents need help with eating and drinking, is such care being provided?

Answer these questions, and you will be able to take your first step towards determining whether the nursing facility is the right choice for your loved one; however, you must conduct more investigations and research of your own to learn whether the facility has had problems with its license in the past, or has had staff members placed under suspension for ill-treatment of members.

The Indiana nursing home abuse lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy, LLP represent persons who have suffered harm as a result of nursing home or elder abuse across Indiana.