When your loved ones get older, they may need more care and attention than you can provide. So it is not unusual to admit them to a nursing home and lean on these facilities to help you look after your family members. However, this isn’t an easy decision to take. You may be worried about the safety of your loved ones, become anxious about the treatment they’re receiving, and have doubts about whether you made the right call.
Moving your loved one into a nursing home doesn’t mean your job as a primary caregiver has ended. You still have a say on how they should get treated and whether they receive proper care in the nursing home. It is your right to hold the establishment accountable if they face abuse or neglect. This is why to put your mind at ease and ensure that your loved one is receiving the best possible care, you need to become an active participant in your family member’s life and comfort them.
So how do you do this? Here’s what you need to know:
- Know That You Have A Right To Sue
According to data gathered by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), nearly half of all nursing home patients had experienced some form of abuse. And the elderly who have been abused have a 300% higher mortality rate, as the National Library of Medicine reported. While this is a worst-case scenario, the stats should tell you that it isn’t that uncommon. If you have faced such circumstances, know you have the right to sue. And the first step in suing a nursing home for wrongful death is to take help from the right legal authorities.
The purpose of any nursing home is to provide care and support to the senior community with no discrimination. This is the standard the federal and state authorities set, which makes nursing homes liable to lawsuits if they fail to uphold the benchmark. The minute you move your loved one into these facilities, you need to understand that the law is protecting them and you’re not entirely helpless in the face of an adversary.
Even if your family member may seem seemingly safe, understand that the law has your back, and at the first sign of danger, it will help you.
- Pay Your Loved One A Visit
Physically visiting your loved ones can help you keep tabs on them more informedly. You get a better idea of the environment they’re living in and also get to see if your family member is in good shape. When you’re visiting, pay attention to the building condition, see if you can spot visible mold or cracks that can make the establishment a hazard, and contact the employee in charge to demand an explanation. While talking to your loved one, notice their body language; if they seem skittish, or show visible signs of a bruise or wounds, try to pry some more information out of them.
You should be on your guard if your loved one looks malnourished or has trouble keeping their thoughts coherent, especially if they have no neurological condition. If your loved one seems weary of a staff worker and may appear nervous when they’re nearby, you can always ask the worker and request them to maintain a distance from your loved one. Don’t use this meeting to investigate your family member alone.
- Stock Their Room With Comfort Items
You should bring items from home that can make your loved ones feel more at peace with their surroundings. Unless a nursing home has specific rules on personalized items or restricts certain products like fragile glass items, personalize your loved one’s space. You can give them their favorite blanket, cushion, or handmade artwork made by your or your children. Try placing photographs of the family around their room to help them feel a connection with the rest of the family.
Ask your loved one what else they would like in their room; perhaps there is a novel they enjoy reading or want their journal, ensure you provide it to them, so they feel cozier. Having your favorite items close by can make you feel more at home than detached. It becomes easier to adjust when you get the space to decorate your room according to your taste. So using the same logic, think about what will make your loved one happier. This is also great for their mental health and may calm some anxiety from being in a new and unknown place.
- Stay Updated About Their Health Condition
You should stay updated about your loved ones’ health conditions at the nursing home. Ask the attending staff what health ailments your family member has if there are any changes in the medication they’re taking, and how well they are adjusting to their new life. This keeps you informed and ensures you’re well aware of how your loved one is doing before letting any underlying illness escalate further.
Take the time to review their medical charts, talk to the doctor in charge of their case and confirm with the staff what your loved one’s routine looks like. While your loved one has a say in how a doctor should handle their case, you are also included in the process. However, if your loved one has a condition like dementia, the staff may consult you in looking after your loved one.
When your loved one shifts into a nursing home, they need your support and empathy more than ever. Adjusting to a new environment takes time, and you also want to ensure your loved one is cared for adequately. Therefore, educate yourself, and learn how to protect your loved ones. This includes understanding your right to file a claim, especially if your family member experiences tremendous abuse. While visiting your family member, evaluate their condition, including how they physically appear before you.
Additionally, you should bring in things that your loved one enjoys having in their space. It can help them become more comfortable in their new home. Lastly, you should learn how your loved one is doing and what ailments they’re currently facing. Staying in the loop is the best way to know your family member is doing well, and you can intervene when needed.