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Avoid Nursing Home Neglect

When a family member is entrusted with arranging for a parent or relative to be placed in a facility for full time nursing care, the responsibility seems daunting.  By and large, one should expect competent and compassionate care, as most facilities make great efforts to comply with the Health Code, and please their clientele.  However, you may also encounter a nursing home with an attractive façade and advertising campaign, while a quick review on the internet may reveal complaints and Health Code Violations that range from unintentional neglect to outright abuse.

Once a facility is selected, and your loved one is placed under its care, there are certain measures that you can take to ensure a greater level of compassion and care.   If you are able, frequent visits are a first step in letting the staff know, in a tangible way, that you are interested in your loved one’s well-being and that you are paying attention to daily or weekly care.

Ask open ended questions about specific areas of your loved ones care that will ensure that the staff is giving it thought and review as well, whereas otherwise, it may simply be overlooked in the course of a busy care schedule.  For instance, with regard to nutrition, ask whether your loved one has had water or fluids that morning or afternoon.  Unintended dehydration is often a common starting point to the deterioration of general health.  Ask generally about their skin, and specifically, whether they have any sores.  Remember, your loved one may not be in a mental or physical condition to discover sores or complain, and you are unlikely to discover them in the course of a visit, since you are not involved with their direct dressing, cleaning and positioning.

Although you are entitled under the law to an acceptable standard of care for your loved one, you are well served by becoming involved with the facility on a regular basis, and letting them know you care.  This could make the difference between marginally acceptable care, and a meaningful relationship between your loved one and the immediate staff.

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