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A Guide to Choosing the Right Nursing Home

by on March 4, 2014 » Add the first comment.

When it comes time to place an elderly parent in a nursing home, it is important that you conduct thorough research on what makes for a good elderly care environment. The difference between a reliable and pleasant nursing home and one that condones abuse and neglect is sometimes not as obvious as one would think. Therefore, it is vital that you do your homework on any nursing home in which you are considering placing your elderly parent before giving them over to its care.

Elder Abuse: A Common Problem

One of the most prevalent problems in nursing homes is that of elder abuse. It is important then that when you visit a prospective nursing home you look for signs of abuse in the residents. Sometimes these signs will be all too visible, ranging from unexplained bruises and burns to rope marks around the wrists or blackened eyes. Signs of physical abuse can also include the following:

Weight loss or being chronically underweight.
 In cases involving weight loss, abuse might be to blame. Residents under undue emotional or physical stress frequently suffer weight loss.

Physical discomfort. When discomfort comes as a result of nursing home abuse, the patient may be withdrawn or reluctant to confide in even a trusted adult about the abuse he or she suffered because of feelings of humiliation. They may also have an unexplained venereal disease, or vaginal and anal bleeding.

Unexplained marks on the body or the genital area.
 These are some of the most common signs of physical abuse. Also, watch out for burns and evidence of pinching in the form of small bruises on the arms or sides of the body. Rope marks, welts, broken eyeglasses, open wounds, cuts and dislocations are other notable signs of physical abuse.

Emotional and Financial Abuse: Know the Signs

While it may be easy to spot the signs of physical abuse on your visit to a prospective nursing home, the signs of emotional and financial abuse are far more difficult to identify. The following signs, however, usually indicate that a nursing home resident is being emotionally and financially abused:

Mental distress. Signs of mental distress, like emotional upset or agitation, may indicate emotional abuse, which can include verbal assaults, insults, threats, intimidation, isolation and harassment.

Financial difficulties. A patient’s financial difficulties may mean that a caregiver in the facility is taking financial advantage of the patient by coercing them to sign over goods and property and authorize withdrawals from bank accounts. Other evidence of possible caregiver financial exploitation include unexplained transfers of the patient’s money to someone outside the family, forged signatures on titles and wills, the inclusion of additional names on the resident’s ATM and credit cards, bills for unnecessary services, and bills going unpaid because of insufficient funds.

Withdrawal from or suspension of normal activities. Withdrawal from normal activities can indicate nursing home abuse. Residents who refuse to join in on group activities may be demonstrating signs of emotional abuse.

Behavior typical of dementia. Rocking, biting or sucking are behaviors associated with dementia, but they are also indicative of possible emotional abuse.

Know Your Rights When Choosing a Nursing Home

If you spot the above signs of abuse on your visit to a prospective nursing home, do not even consider taking a chance and housing your elderly parent there. You do not need to settle for a dangerous and unpleasant nursing home environment. Be proactive and learn about your rights when it comes to nursing home care. Nursing home rights vary by state, but they usually include the following:

  • The nursing home resident has the right to live in an attractive, well-maintained environment.
  • The nursing home resident has the right to live in an environment that enhances personal dignity, encourages self-determination and maintains independence.
  • The nursing home resident has the right to participate in activities that meet spiritual, intellectual and personal needs.
  • The nursing home resident has the right to expect effective and expeditious channels of communication between residents and staff.

When you visit a prospective nursing home, look for a clean, cheerful environment. Ask about group activities and request an activities calendar so that you can see how they are scheduled. Talk to the staff and try to determine if they seem happy, or if they are harboring feelings of anger and resentment.

A Victim of Nursing Home Abuse? Consult an Attorney Trained in Nursing Home Abuse

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, our elderly loved ones suffer abuse at the hands of the staff in a nursing home. The best thing you can do in such an event is to contact an attorney trained in nursing home abuse. Only an attorney trained in nursing home abuse can help you with the complex process of filing a claim and receiving an adequate settlement to cover medical costs and help compensate for pain and suffering incurred from the abuse.

Find more like this: Personal Injury

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