You did your homework: you researched local Kentucky nursing homes online, you visited them, you asked people you know whether they have had any experience with local nursing homes, and you found one that sounds perfect for your mother. Whew! Now your work is done, right?
Not even close.
The way to make sure that you mother is well cared for and happy in the nursing home is to stay involved. Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform suggests that people monitor the care their loved ones receive in a nursing home in the following ways:
- Be present at the initial and ongoing care plan meetings, which should include the medical director, dietician, physical therapist, pharmacist, nursing director, social director, and activities director.
- Review documentation of your loved one’s care to make sure that it reflects activities of daily living (ADLs), as well as observation of mood and behavioral changes; physical changes, such as bedsores and bruises; and health problems, such as fevers.
- Read the nurses’ entries on the resident’s chart often to get their take on the resident’s general state of being.
- Keep a record of phone calls made to the family to report changes in general health, such as falls and fevers. Check to see if this information is included on the resident’s chart.
- Note the caregivers on each shift who are directly responsible for your loved one. The nursing home is required by law to post this information.
- Find out the nursing homes staffing ratios—the number of direct care providers—as well as the number of hours of direct care. Make sure that the staffing ratio does not include non-caregiving personnel, such as cleaning and kitchen staff.
- Do not always visit at approximately the same time; you will see only the care and treatment of residents that staff want you to see.
- Keep in touch with other family members and friends who visit the nursing home and get their observations of the resident’s condition, the behavior of employees, and the state of the facility.
- Maintain a log with entries for each time you visit. Include such observations as staff attitudes and the resident’s mood, appetite, alertness, and bruises.
- Learn the names of staff members and which shifts they are on.
- Look over annual inspection reports, which should be readily available.
- Observe and write down in your log conditions such as bad odors, clutter in the walkways, inattentive caregivers, and lack of response to call bells or cries for help.
- Chat with other people that you see visiting often and compare your observations and impressions of caregiving and maintenance at the nursing home.
- Photograph suspicious bruises or cuts, placing a coin or other object next to the mark for reference.
- Attend family councils, which are held to talk about residents’ concerns. Take notes about what is discussed.
- Make a copy of any report or complaint you submit to an agency.
- Request copies of medical records from any time the resident is taken to a hospital for treatment.
- If you have a grievance that is not addressed and resolved, consider getting an attorney involved.
Has Your Loved One Been Injured In A Nursing Home?
If you believe your loved one is being subjected to nursing home abuse you need to speak with an experienced Kentucky nursing home neglect attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 888.450.4456 to schedule a free consultation.